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Kenora family has 3 swimmers at Olympic qualifiers

Gabe Mastromatteo represented Canada at the COVID-delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Gabe Mastromatteo Swim Canada 2
Gabe Mastromatteo in 2021. (Swim Canada)

Janet Hyslop followed up on Mother’s Day as a proud mom in familiar environs: poolside.

The Kenora coach watched as two sons and a daughter tried for spots on Canada’s Olympic swim team.

Eldest son Gabe Mastromatteo, 22, hopes for a return to Olympic competition, having represented the Maple Leaf at the COVID-delayed Tokyo Games in 2021.

Daughter Émilia Mastromatteo, 20, and son Tazio Mastromatteo, 16, aimed for their first Olympic team slots.

All three young Mastromatteos entered breaststroke events at the 2024 Olympic Trials held May 13-19 at the Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre.

Hyslop, a competitive swimmer in her own youth, happens to be their coach as well as their mother.

“It’s pretty spectacular to have three children from the same family at the same event at this level,” she said from Toronto during the Olympic qualifiers’ first day.

“I have to give the credit to my kids, who are my athletes as well,” she continued. “They really want to do well and they have never shied away from challenges or difficult moments.”

Gabe, a student at the University of Toronto, placed fourth in the men’s 100-metre breaststroke on Monday and did not qualify for the Olympic team in that event.

He is set to swim the 200 m breaststroke on Wednesday for another shot at making the team.

Tazio, who attends St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Kenora, also swam in the 100 m breaststroke but did not make the final.

Émilia entered the women’s 100 m breaststroke and advanced with a personal best to the B final, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

The McGill University student said she was “happy to be here to watch my brothers” as they try for Canada’s Olympic team.

“We’re registered as Kenora Swimming Sharks, and it’s an incredible thing to not only be swimming as three siblings, but to have our mother as our coach. It’s such a unique dynamic,” she said.

“My mother is a quite renowned coach in Canadian swimming, but she actually started off her career as a swimmer as well,” Émilia added.

“And so she’s honestly been one of my idols, and I’m speaking for my brothers, but I’m sure she’s been both of their idols as well growing up.

“I think because of her background in swimming, she brings such a passion to the sport.”

Hyslop’s passion, experience and coaching abilities have also lifted countless young athletes not named Mastromatteo.

This past March, for example, three Beaver Brae Secondary School teens under her guidance competed at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations' swimming championships in Toronto and recorded personal bests at the event.

Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

After working at newspapers across the Prairies, Mike found where he belongs when he moved to Northwestern Ontario.
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