Michael “Mike” Mintenko

Photo Credit: Brandee McCormack Martinez Photography

Mike Mintenko first joined the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins Swim Club at the age of eight. By his teen years, he began to train for competitions more seriously. It was not long before the training began to pay off. By the end of 1992, the seventeen-year-old Mintenko held ten different provincial records. By the end of 1993, that total had increased to twenty-one.

As Mintenko’s competitive career progressed, he began to specialize in butterfly events. Beginning in 1999, he was clearly the top butterfly swimmer in Canada. He did not lose at either the 50 metre or 100 metre events to another Canadian swimmer from that year until he retired from competition in 2005. During that astonishing run, he held eight individual national records, as well as four additional short course relay records.

This dominance within Canada naturally led him to a spot on the national team. Mintenko, now nicknamed “the Tank”, swam with Team Canada for eight years. During that time, he collected several medals at many international events. In 2000, he had perhaps his best year with the team, winning the World Cup Championship in both the 50 metre and 100 metre Butterfly events. He was also on the team for the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He finished 5th in the 100 metre Butterfly at the 2000 games. In 2004, he was named captain of the team.

Mintenko always appreciated the value of coming from a smaller community. Prior to the 2004 Olympics, his family helped raise money for his training by selling a calendar featuring photos of him swimming. Moose Jaw businesses bought ad space in the calendar, and all 500 copies were sold. After retiring from competitive swimming in 2005, Mintenko launched another calendar campaign. This time, the funds were used to start a scholarship award, given annually to a young swimmer within the province of Saskatchewan.

Installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on June 16th, 2012.

Local Level

  • Member of the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins Swim Club from 1982-1998 and maintained his membership even when he attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas and competed summers with the Flying Fins

Provincial Level

Attended Saskatchewan Provincial Championships from 1986-1994

Although competitions in a Yard pool are not held too often anymore, Mike still holds Yards provincial records in:

  • Male 15 to 17
  • 50 yard Freestyle set in 1992
  • 400 yard Freestyle set in 1992
  • 800 yard Freestyle set in 1992
  • Senior/Open Male
  • 50 yard Freestyle set in 1992
  • 100 yard Freestyle set in 1994
  • 400 yard Freestyle set in 1992
  • He also still holds a Long course Meters (swum in a 50 meter pool) in the Men’s 15 to 17 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay, which was set in 1993 as a member of Team Sask at the 1993 Jeux du Canada Games

National Level

  • National Champion men’s 50 meter Butterfly 1999-2005
  • National Champion men’s 100 meter Butterfly 1999—2005
  • Held 8 National Records at one time and still held them when he retired in 2005 plus 4 Short Course Relay records
  • He still holds the National Record (tied) in the 100 Fly Short Course

International Level

  • Member of Canadian National Swim Team 1998-2005
  • 2000 Olympic Games was 5th in 100 Butterfly and 6th in 4 x 100 Medley Relay and 7th in 4 x 200 Medley Relay
  • 2004 Olympic Games was 10th in 4 x 100 Medley and Freestyle Relay and 12th in 100 Butterfly
  • 1999 World University Games was 4th in 100 Butterfly and 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay
  • 1999 Pan Pacific Championships took silver in 4 x 100 Medley Relay and 6th in 100 Butterfly
  • 2001 World Championships was 4th in 4 x 100 Medley Relay and 6th in 100 Fly
  • 2002 World Short Course Championships was 4th in 100 Fly and 6th in 50 Fly
  • 2002 Commonwealth Games took silver in 100 Butterfly & 4 x 200 Freestyle Relay and bronze in 4 x 100 Medley Relay and 4th in 50 Fly
  • 2002 Pan Pacific Championships took bronze in four events
  • 2003 U.S. Open took gold in 100 fly setting new US Open record
  • 2004 World Cup Stockholm took gold and bronze in 50 and 100 Fly
  • 2004 World Cup Berlin took bronze in 50 Fly and 4th in 100 Fly
  • 2004 World Short Course Championships Indianapolis took bronze
  • 2005 FINA World Aquatic Championships Montreal took silver

Meritorious Awards

  • Honorary Life Member Swim Saskatchewan Foundation 2000
  • Saskatchewan Male Athlete of the Year 2000
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Award 2002
  • UBC Pacific Dolphins Swimmer of the Year 2000-2004
  • Men’s Swim Team Captain at 2004 Olympic Games