by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Swimming for Success

It’s hard to believe that skilled swimmer Matthew Makepeace didn’t know how to swim until the age of eight. “I went to multiple rounds of swim lessons for years and still didn’t want to let go of the edge of the pool,” recalled Matthew. It wasn’t until his mother, Jackie, enrolled him in the Pacific Swim club that Matthew finally took an interest in the activity. “My mom told me I would be swimming every day of the week – rain or shine – until I learned basic lifesaving swimming skills,” said Matthew. Flash forward four years later, and Matthew is a fierce competitor for Pacific Swim, swimming six days a week for two hours each day. “My goal is to get to the Gold Group with Pacific Swim and swim with Coach Dan,” stated Matthew. “He is also the coach for Mt. Carmel, where I am going to go to high school.”


Currently Matthew attends the seventh grade at Mesa Verde Middle School. “I really like school,” said Matthew, who finished his last school year with straight As. “I have had teachers who have been there for me and have helped push me to be my best.” Outside of school, Matthew has triumphed in competitive swimming, receiving six Junior Olympic Cuts, multiple Far Western Cuts, and qualifying for prominent swim competitions throughout California. “I really enjoy the competition,” elaborated Matthew, who also appreciates the camaraderie of his swim friends. “We are like a big family,” he described. “A lot of them go to different schools, but we see each other at meets. We really work hard to celebrate each other’s victories.”

“I have had teachers who have been there for me and have helped push me to be my best.”

student2For inspiration Matthew looks to his mother and to his former coach. “My mom has always been there for me for the good and the bad,” shared Matthew. “Marko Djordjevic was one of my first competitive swim coaches with Pacific Swim. He is now a swim coach at UCSD. He still stays in touch with me and takes an active interest in how my swimming is coming along.”

As far as his future plans, Matthew hopes to attend college and study biology. In the meantime, he remains committed to working hard. “I ripped a page out of a swim magazine over the summer and I keep it in my school binder,” said Matthew. “It has my favorite quote on it, which was said by Muhammad Ali: ‘I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”


Name: Matthew Makepeace (12)
School: Mesa Verde Middle School
Grade: 7
Parents: Jackie Makepeace, Darryl Makepeace
Sibling: Megan (14)
Favorite Places in 92129: Round Table. I love pizza!