Matthew Haanappel

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Matthew Haanappel
XXXX15 - Matthew Haanappel - 3b - 2016 Team processing.jpg
2016 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Haanappel
Personal information
Full name Matthew Anthony Haanappel
Nickname(s) Pineapple
Nationality  Australia
Born (1994-05-21) 21 May 1994 (age 23)
Wantirna, Victoria, Australia
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Freestyle, Backstroke
Classifications S6, SB6, SM6
Club Ringwood Swimming Club
College team University of the Sunshine Coast

Matthew "Matt" Anthony Haanappel, OAM (born 21 May 1994) is an Australian Paralympic swimmer. He was born in Wantirna, Victoria and resides in the far eastern suburbs of Melbourne. He has cerebral palsy right hemiplegia. Haanappel represented Australia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships and the 2014 Para Pan Pacific Championships. He represents the Ringwood Swimming Club when competing domestically in Australia. He represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.[1]


Haanappel was born on 21 May 1994 in Wantirna, Victoria. He resides as of 2015 in Croydon Hills, Victoria. [2][3]

Diagnosed at four months of age, Matthew has Cerebral Palsy Right Hemiplegia as a result of a prenatal stroke at around 20 weeks of pregnancy, he was born full term.[3][4] His disability means it takes him extra effort to do things like tie his shoes, as his fine motor skills and dexterity are severely reduced from the spasticity in his right hand.[4]

Haanappel, along with his brother were enrolled in learn to swim from an early age. His parents said that if they did not learn how to swim then they would not be allowed to go to the beach, or be on the family boat of which they both spent a lot of their childhood on.

Haanappel learned to swim in a specialised disability learn to swim program in Kilsyth, Victoria.

Haanappel comes from a family with a strong sporting background, his father, Shane is an Australian basketball representative, his first cousin is retired Australian cyclist Cadel Evans and his brother, Adam Haanappel is an international tennis player. Haanappel is also a distant relative of Dutch Olympic figure skater Joan Haanappel.[3][4]

Haanappel was a student at Croydon Secondary College from 2008 till 2011. During 2012, he deferred his VCE in order to spend more time training

In 2013, Matthew returned as a student at Melba College, to complete his VCE.

Matthew attended the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre as a child in 1998 and 1999. Today, Matthew is an ambassador of the organisation.

Haanappel is also an ambassador and advocate for Sport Sport in Victoria, which promotes physical activity and sporting excellence through students in public schools within Victoria.[5]


Haanappel at the 2012 London Paralympics

He is an S6 classified swimmer competing in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m Butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley events.[2] He was reclassified early 2012, having competed in S7 events since the beginning of his swimming career.[3]

As of 2015, He is a full-time member of the Australian Institute of Sport Paralympic Swimming Program and is also a member of the Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club when he trains in Melbourne.

Haanappel still has an ongoing role at the Lilydale Swimming Club as a mentor to its young group of swimmers.[4] Internationally, he mostly competes against competitors in his own classification, but domestically he competes against swimmers in all disability classes and sometimes against able bodied swimmers in club and state level competitions. [3]


Haanappel started swimming in 2005 at the Lilydale Swimming Club..[2] First coached by Swimming Victoria SWD Head Coach Karen Garrard and also the clubs junior level coach Anne Longridge. Haanappel's swimming ability helped quickly advanced his way through the junior squads at the club . He competed at his first competition, the 2005 Victorian Primary School Swimming Championships where he false started at his first ever race.


Haanappel at age 13 put his swimming on hold to move with his family to Port Vila, Vanuatu for his father's work. Haanappel while living in Port Vila took up Tennis and became involved with Wheelchair Tennis through the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee. Haanappel attended the Port Vila International School while living in the country.[2]


Haanappel continued taking part in Wheelchair Tennis and returned to Australia late in 2007.[2]


Haanappel after the return to Australia late in 2007 was given the tough decision whether to continue Wheelchair Tennis or resume his Swimming Career. Mid way through 2008, Haanappel decided to rejoin the Lilydale Swimming Club under his old coach Anne Longridge, but after a short period was promoted to the Junior and Senior State Squad under the instruction of Neil and Michael Davis due to the rapid depreciation of his times.[2] Haanappel was selected to represent Victoria at the 2008 Pacific School Games in Canberra returning home with a silver and bronze medal.[2]


In 2009, Haanappel made his mark on the Swimming Australia record books by smashing Australian Age Disability Records. Haanappel was selected for his second School Sport Victoria Team to the School Sport Australia Swimming Championships held in Perth. On returning from the Victorian team, Haanappel switched coaches to Lawrence Krauter at the Lilydale Swimming Club.[2]


Haanappel appeared at his first national championships in 2010 and was selected to the Australian Youth Team.[2] At his first international trip at the 2010 Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaften in Berlin, he earned a silver medal in the 50m Youth Butterfly.[2] Haanappel moved in late 2010 to the Nunawading Swimming Club to join Amanda Isaac and Rohan Taylor at the club's Victorian Institute of Sport High Performance Program.[2]


As an Age competitor he had three first-place finishes, two second-place finished and three third-place finishes at the 2011 National Age Multi-Class Championships. He travelled to Germany for his second Internationale Deutsche Meisterschaften in Berlin achieving three gold medals.[2]


In early 2012 prior to the Paralympic Selection Trials, Haanappel trained at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs alongside Michael Phelps. Haanappel swam at the 2012 Paralympic Trials achieving three priority two selection times for the 2012 Team.[4]

He was selected for his fourth Victoria School Swimming Team in 2012, and was selected to the position of male team captain for the championships. Haanappel was the first AWD student to have held the role of Male Captain.[4]

Matthew was officially selected in June 2012 to represent Australia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics[6][7] in the 200m individual medley, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly, the 50m freestyle events. Going into the London Games, he was ranked fourth in the world in the 50 metre freestyle event and third in the 200 metre individual medley.[3][4] He participated in a relay training camp in July 2012 at the Australian Institute of Sport in preparation for the London 2012 Paralympics.[4] His London training preparations on a weekly basis included twice a week pilates, three sessions in the gym and six sessions in the pool.[4]

At the 2012 Summer Paralympics he won a gold medal in the Men's 4 x 100 m Freestyle Relay (34 points) and a bronze in the Men's 4 x 100 m Medley Relay (34 points).[8][9]

Towards the end of 2012, Haanappel had returned to training after an extended break from the sport at the University of the Sunshine Coast Paralympic Swimming Program under the coaching of Jonathan Shaw.


In 2013, Haanappel continued training at the University of the Sunshine Coast through to May when he returned to Melbourne and trained at the DVE Aquatic Club, under the instruction of Brian Miller who was a coach on the Australian Team to the 2011 Para Pan Pacific Championships in Edmonton, Canada.[4]

Haanappel was selected to the Australian Swimming Team to compete at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada.[4] He won a bronze medal in the Men's 100 m Freestyle S6.[10] In October, Haanappel moved to the Norwood Swimming Club in Adelaide to help grow a Paralympic Swimming Program at the club.


In 2014, Haanappel moved to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra to join the Swimming Australia National Training Centre. He was selected to the Australian Teams attending the Brazilian National Championships and the Para Pan Pacific Championships which were held at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Centre in Pasadena, California. At the Para Pan Pacific Championships he won three Gold, two Silver and one Bronze medal.

After the Paralympic Pan Pacific Championships, Haanappel returned to Melbourne to undergo surgery on his left shoulder. He did not swim the end of year's National Short Course Championships.


As of 2015, Haanappel is listed as a supported athlete at the Australian Institute of Sport under Yuriy Vdovychenko, however trains in Melbourne with Ringwood Swimming Club.

He did not contest the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships due to the lack of strength in his left shoulder post surgery. [11]

In May, Haanappel announced that he was searching for a club to return his representative club to Victoria that would facilitate his training on a part time basis, when away from Canberra. In July, Haanappel joined the Melbourne Vicentre Swimming Club with their Paralympic Program under the instruction of Brad Harris. However, in October, Haanappel had moved his training semi-permanently to Melbourne and had joined the Ringwood Swimming Club at Aquanation under Head Coach Matt Scanlon.


Haanappel contested the 2016 Australian Swimming Championships incorporating the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team Trials. He swam the 50m,100m Freestyle and 50m,100m Backstroke. After Trials, he was selected to the Australian Dolphins National Swim Team and listed as an emergency for the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team. Haanappel was called up for formal selection in the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team in August after a nominated athlete was withdrawn. After his formal selection in the Australian Team, Haanappel was assigned Swimming Victoria State Team Coach Michal Skrodzki for his preparation towards Rio.

At the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Haanappel competed in five events. He placed sixth in Mixed 4 x 50m Freestyle (20 points), sixth in 100m Freestyle S6 and fifth in Men's 50m Freestyle S6. He didn't qualify for the finals in the following events: Men's 400m Freestyle S6 and Men's 100m Backstroke S6.[12]

In preparation for Rio, Haanappel says “I want to show everyone that people with disabilities can achieve things. If I can inspire them to paint the bathroom they’ve been putting off for three months, or clean up the garage ... well, that’s why we do it.”[13]


In 2010, Haanappel received the Leader Junior Sports Star Encouragement Award and won the main category Leader Senior Sports Star of the Year in 2012.

Haanappel has accepted many awards from School Sport Victoria, the AWD Award in 2008, the Swimming Award in 2012 as well as the Outstanding Sporting Achievement Award in the same year.

He was listed in the Australia Day Honours in the City of Manningham as a Young Leader for his service to the Australia community through sport.

In 2012 he won the Victorian Young Achievers Award for Sporting Excellence and gained a nomination for Victorian Young Achiever of the Year.[4]

He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the 2014 Australia Day Honours "for service to sport as a Gold Medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games."[14]

Personal bests[edit]

Course Event Time Meet Swim Date Reference
Long 50m Backstroke 37.55 OC 2014 Victorian Swimming Championships 17-Jan-14 [15]
Long 100m Backstroke 01:20.14 OC 2014 NSW Open Championships 1-Mar-14 [15]
Long 50m Breaststroke 44.15 School Sport Australia Swimming Championships 2-Aug-11 [15]
Long 100m Breaststroke 01:36.39 2013 IPC World Swimming Championships 11-Aug-13 [15]
Long 50m Butterfly 33.81 2014 Paralympic Pan Pacific Championships 6-Aug-14 [15]
Long 100m Butterfly 01:17.78 2010 Swimming Victoria Qualifying Meet Week 2 21-Nov-10 [15]
Long 50m Freestyle 31.22 OC 2014 South Australian Swimming Championships 20-Dec-13 [15]
Long 100m Freestyle 01:08.12 OC AIS Paralympic Swimming Time Trials 26-Jun-14 [15]
Long 200m Freestyle 02:37.17 OC 2014 South Australian Swimming Championships 19-Dec-13 [15]
Long 400m Freestyle 05:32.8 2010 Swimming Victoria Long Course Distance Meet 6-Nov-10 [15]
Long 200m Medley 02:55.6 OC 2012 London Paralympic Games 6-Sept-12 [15]
Short 50m Backstroke 37.36 OC Eltham SC 11th Annual Short Course 15-Aug-10 [15]
Short 100m Backstroke 01:19.98 OC 2013 Australian Short Course Championships 23-Aug-13 [15]
Short 50m Breaststroke 42.91 OC Melbourne Vicentre Urban Shortcourse Meet 29-May-11 [15]
Short 100m Breaststroke 01:34.66 OC Melbourne Vicentre Urban Shortcourse Meet 29-May-11 [15]
Short 50m Butterfly 34.83 OC 2011 ascta(V)/FAS Short Course Nationals Hit Out 11-Jun-11 [15]
Short 100m Butterfly 01:18.36 2011 Australian Short Course Championships 2-Jul-11 [15]
Short 50m Freestyle 30.31 OC 2014 Swimming Australia Grand Prix 3 16-Jul-14 [15]
Short 100m Freestyle 01:07.6 OC 2014 Swimming Australia Grand Prix 3 16-July-14 [15]
Short 200m Freestyle 02:44.3 OC Eltham SC 11th Annual Short Course Meet 15-Aug-10 [15]
Short 400m Freestyle 05:52.1 OC Melbourne Vicentre June Shortcourse Meet 26-Jun-10 [15]
Short 200m Medley 02:51.94 OC CA Tritons 2012 SC Meet 24-Jun-12 [15]


  1. ^ "Australian Paralympic Swimming Team announced". Australian Paralympic Committee News, 1 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Matthew Haanappel". Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Shackell, James (2012-07-24). "Paralympic dreams: Croydon Hills teen a hotshot in pool". Maroondah Weekly. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Shackell, James (2012-07-03). "Cadel's cousin set for Paralympics". Melbourne Weekly Eastern. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  5. ^ "Brave Austin Reid will walk the Melbourne Marathon 3km walk with Victorian Paralympian Matthew Haanappel". HeraldSun. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  6. ^ "Paralympic swim team revealed". Australian Paralympic Committee. 2012-07-10. Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2012-07-10. 
  7. ^ "Cowdrey leads Paralympic swim team -". ABC Grandstand Sport - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  8. ^ "Matthew Haanappel - Athlete Results". London 2012 Paralympic Games. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Results for Matthew Haanappel from the International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Twenty-seven medals for the Australian swim team in Montreal.". Swimming Australia News. 19 August 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Announcement regarding 2015 Australian Swimming Championships". MattHaanappeltwitter. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Matthew Haanappel". Rio Paralympics Official Results. Rio Paralympics 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  13. ^ Schenk, Emma-Jayne. "Rio Paralympics 2016: Matt Haanappel hoping to inspire others". Leader - Community News. The Herald Sun. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  14. ^ "Australia Day honours list 2014: in full". Daily Telegraph. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Matthew Haanappel personal bests". Swimming Western Australia. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 

External links[edit]