Matt McLean graduated from the University of Virginia last spring, after an exceptional NCAA career for the Cavaliers. His swimming resume is bursting with accolades from NCAA and national competitions. After graduation, McLean relocated to California where he began training under legendary coach Jon Urbanchek at Fullerton Aquatics Sports Team (FAST). He is the 2011-2012 recipient of the Work the Dream Grant, awarded by the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation, to provide financial aid to elite swimming athletes who share Fran’s passion and dedication to sport.
Place of Birth: Cleveland, Ohio
Hometown: Sterling, Va.
College: University of Virginia (graduated in 2011)
Nickname: “Captain Safety”
College major: Sociology
What club team did you train with?
I swam for Mike Pliuskaitis at SNOW, and I had some great experiences with some other coaches as well.
What high school did you compete for?
I swam for Potomac Falls all four years. I graduated in 2006.
Where did you swim summer league?
I swam for the Cascades Rapids from the age of 10 to 16.
- National Champion in the 400m free; Runner-up in the 200m free
- Silver in the 200m free; Bronze in the 400m free at the 2011 Duel in the Pool
- Gold medalist in the 200m free and 800m free relay at the 2011 World University Games
- 2011 NCAA Champion in the 500 Freestyle
- 15-time All-American (eight individual)
- 17-time ACC Champion (eight individual)
- Virginia and ACC record holder in the 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle
- 2009 & 2011 ACC Swimmer of the Year
- 2008, 2009, & 2011 ACC Swimmer of the Championships
- 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year
2011-2012 Rank/Olympic Trials Qualifying Times:
#3 400m freestyle – 3:47.33 (2011 Conoco Phillips National Championships)
#8 200m freestyle – 1:47.44 (2011 World University Games)
#55 1500m freestyle – 15:42.21 (2010 National Champs)*
#112 100m freestyle – 51.11 (2011 Conoco Phillips National Championships)
*Qualifying standard was achieved in 2010; ranking was calculated from the date of swim
Parents: Anne, Duncan
Brother: Sam (15)
Favorite part about being a Wahoo?
The atmosphere at Virginia and the idea of an Academic Village, as well as the swim team.
When did you start swimming competitively?
I started at about 10 on the Cascades Rapids. Then Mike Pliuskaitis recruited me to swim on his team.
Person you would most like to race?
This is a tough question, there are so many great athletes. I would have to say Peter Vanderkaay because he is so experienced and he is the top American right now. He is an athlete I really feel that I could learn a lot from.
Do you have any pre-meet, pre-race or meet-day rituals or habits you must go through?
I go through several rituals, some of them private. But I love listening to music, usually something upbeat like Metallica or Van Halen. I try to hydrate a ridiculous amount, eat chicken and pasta, and get plenty of rest.
Grilled chicken and pasta
And Justice For All – Metallica
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I love anything loud and fast. This is why I am into guitars and cars.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattBMcLean6F. Behind the Blocks will begin posting training updates from our featured athletes next week.