Michaela Mattes is a swimmer with Cardinal Mooney High and the Sarasota Sharks swim club. Mattes, a senior, won gold in the 1,500 meter freestyle (16:24.02) and bronze in the 800 meter freestyle (8:35.78) at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, held Aug. 24-27 in Honolulu.
When did you start swimming?
I started swimming for real when I was about 9 years old. I grew up in the pool, but before then I didn't really do anything (competitive). I always loved watching the Olympics. That's what got me interested in swimming as a sport.
What is your favorite event?
Either the 400 individual medley or the 400 freestyle. I just have a good feel for those events.
What was it like to swim at the Pan Pacific Championships?
Honestly it wasn’t that big of a change for me. I felt ready and normal. Coach Brent (Arckey) prepared us for this meet and other meets like it. I swam at the Olympic Trials and the World Championship Trials in the past, so I wasn't any more nervous than usual at this event. I trust that my training will have me ready.
Have you been able to explore Hawaii?
Yes, I've spent the last few days here with my parents (Jason Mattes and Monica Mattes). It's the most breathtaking place I've ever been. I'm from Sarasota, so that's saying something. But nothing compares. We went to a luau and went snorkeling and saw all kinds of fish. It has been so much fun.
What is your favorite swimming memory?
Oh, this (Pan Pac) will be No. 1 for me. Being able to wear the stars and stripes on my cap and take home a win, being around all these other amazing swimmers, it's amazing.
What is your favorite food?
Right now it is probably sushi.
What is your favorite movie?
Of recent movies, it's 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2.' That's quite a favorite of mine.
What is your favorite subject?
I like learning Spanish a lot. We have Spanish descent in our family, so every time I speak or learn Spanish it reminds me of family.
What is the best advice you have received?
Trust in your training. Let the race take care of itself.
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