OTTAWA, Canada, November 11. MIKE Mintenko decided to go out on top. Just a few months after helping Canada to a silver medal in the 400 freestyle relay at the World Championships in Montreal, Mintenko has decided to retire. A butterfly specialist, but also a solid sprint freestyler, Mintenko also collected fifth and eighth-place finishes in the 100 and 50 fly events at the World Champs.
Mintenko was a two-time Olympian and spent eight years as a member of Canada’s National Team. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Mintenko posted a fifth-place finish in the 100 fly. The 30-year-old is married to Lindsay Benko, the American freestyle ace who has enjoyed her own highly successful career on the international scene.
“The timing is right for me to take on some new challenges,” Mintenko said. “I never thought a small-town kid from Saskatchewan would travel to more than 30 countries and pursue a dream. My swimming career was a great journey and that’s what I’ll cherish the most.”
Mintenko spent the past seven years training in Vancouver and is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He earned a silver medal in the 100 fly at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and was fifth in that event at the 2001 World Champs. He retires holding national records in the long-course and short-course versions of the 50 and 100 fly events.
“One of the things that will be greatly missed is Mike’s leadership within the National Swim Team” said Pierre Lafontaine, the CEO/National Coach for Swimming Canada. “Mike has proven to be an exceptional ambassador for Canada and has demonstrated such a passion for our sport throughout his career. We know we can still count on him to help us in our efforts to build and strengthen Canadian swimming as an ambassador and as a mentor to young athletes.”