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Sarasota Athlete of the Week: Michaela Mattes

The Cardinal Mooney swimmer talks Olympic Trials cuts and the advice she always follows.

Michaela Mattes.
Michaela Mattes.
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Michaela Mattes is a sophomore swimmer at Cardinal Mooney High. She won two gold medals at the Class 1A state meet Nov. 15 in Stuart, one in the 200 individual medley (2:01.10) and one in the 500 freestyle (4:47.19). Mattes also won a gold medal in 2019. 

When did you start swimming?

I started swimming competitively when I was about 9. I grew up in the pool, but before then I didn't really do anything, just splashed around. I always loved watching the Olympics. That's what got me interested in swimming for real. 

What is your favorite event?

Either the 400 individual medley or the 400 freestyle, I can't pick. I just have a good feel for those events when I am in the water. I know what I have to do. 

What is your favorite memory?

Two years ago, when I was 14, I made my first Olympic Trial cuts. I had been training so hard and so long to get them. I was so excited to finally do it. 

What are your goals now?

I would like to make three more Trial cuts and hopefully be on the Junior National Team roster by the end of the year. 

What is your favorite food?

I love tacos. I just top them with cheese and sour cream. 

What are your hobbies?

I love playing with my cat, if that counts. (Laughs.) Her name is Luna. She's a year-and-a-half old tuxedo cat. 

Which superpower would you pick?

I think I would choose flight. It would be easy to get to places if I didn't feel like walking. 

What is the best advice you have received?

My dad (Jason Mattes) always says hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. That is always in the back of my mind when I'm swimming. 

Finish this sentence: "Michaela Mattes is …"

… A three-time state champion and a soon-to-be Olympian.



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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