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Hart's Matt Johnson commits to Duke

The senior swimmer was named The Signal's All-SCV Boys Swimmer of the Year the last two years

Posted: October 27, 2013 9:22 p.m.
Updated: October 27, 2013 9:22 p.m.
Hart senior Matt Johnson verbally commited to Duke University earlier this month. Hart senior Matt Johnson verbally commited to Duke University earlier this month.
Hart senior Matt Johnson verbally commited to Duke University earlier this month.

Hart senior Matt Johnson has been the top boys swimmer in the Santa Clarita Valley for the past two years.

He’ll soon be able to put his talents on display at a top-notch college.

Earlier this month, Johnson verbally committed to the Duke University swim team a few weeks after he made his official visit to the campus in Durham, N.C.

“My decision was between Duke and Notre Dame and I had taken about a week thinking about it and it really came down to the team and the atmosphere that I felt at Duke on my official visit,” said Johnson, The Signal’s two-time reigning All-SCV Boys Swimmer of the Year.

The senior said he went on official visits to both Duke and Notre Dame, but decided to forgo a scheduled visit to Indiana University after he made his decision.

Due to Duke’s limited number of available athletic scholarships in men’s sports, Johnson will be competing as a non-scholarship athlete.

He chose the school based on its strong reputation both academically and athletically.

“The academics was huge,” Johnson said. “Really all the schools I looked at were highly renowned in their academic fields and going into it I knew I didn’t want academics and athletics to outweigh one another.”

Johnson also said he likes that Duke is relatively small with about 6,600 undergraduate students. On top of that, he’ll be joining a historically successful team.

The Duke men’s swim team finished seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference finals last year and 17th at the NCAA Championships. In total, the team has made 11 NCAA Championship appearances.

In Johnson, Duke will be getting a versatile swimmer who has won a multitude of Foothill titles and set numerous league records in the past two years.

During each of the past two seasons, Johnson won league titles in both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races. He also helped Hart win league in the 200 medley relay and 4x100 freestyle relay, both in record-setting fashion.

He now owns the Foothill record in the 200 freestyle and is part of two record-setting relay teams.

This past spring, Johnson finished sixth in both the 200 and 500 freestyle races at the CIF-Southern Section Division I finals.

Headed into his senior season at Hart, Johnson said he’s not rewriting the record books.

“Everything I do from this point on, dropping times, breaking records is just icing on the cake I guess,” Johnson said. “I really do want to break records this year. I don’t want to see this as, ‘Oh, I committed. I don’t have to do anything more. This is my opportunity to leave my mark and show that I can do something more.”


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