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ItalyItaly, ITA


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
17 January 1995
188 cm
88 kg
Rome, ITA
Higher education
Business - University of Southern California: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age five.
Why this sport?
His father introduced him to the sport.
Name of coach
Claudio Rossetto (, 02 Jun 2018)

General Interest

Building remote control cars, volunteering. (, 10 Sep 2016)
Most influential person in career
His father. (, 14 Jul 2015)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Before every race he raises his middle finger at his father, who raises his in return. (, 27 Jan 2016)
Awards and honours
He was named the 2016 Canadian Swimmer of the Year in's Swammy Awards. (, 30 Dec 2016)

He was named the 2016 Male Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Canada. (, 30 Sep 2016)

He was named the 2015 Male Sprint Freestyle Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Canada. (, 18 Jan 2016)
Other information
He was born in Japan and grew up in Portland, OR, United States of America. He was eligible to represent Canada through his mother, who is from Kenora, ON, Canada. He is a former US junior national team swimmer, but in 2013 he declined a spot on the US team for the world junior championships because it would have jeopardised his Canadian team status. He holds both US and Canadian citizenship and in 2014 he officially nominated to represent Canada at international level. Then in 2018, it was reported he is planning to swim for Italy. However, despite moving to the country, where a year-long stay would satisfy a FINA prerequisite for changing National Olympic Committees, he denied to in late June 2018 that he had made any decision to represent Italy, the ancestral homeland of his father. (, 16 Jul 2015;, 24 May 2015, 29 Jun 2018;, 02 Apr 2015)

Before each race, he and his father Joseph raise their middle fingers at each other. The pair began the habit, which was Joseph's idea, while Santo was growing up and would get intimidated on the starting blocks because he was still shorter than most of his rivals. "I told him, 'Enough is enough'. When you get on the blocks, just put everything out of your mind and swim like there's nobody near you. He said to me, 'How do you do that?' and I said, 'Well, you say **** it'. So he looked at me in the crowd, and we both gave each other the finger, and he started winning race after race and we never looked back," Joseph said. (, 27 Jan 2016)

He swam as a youth and excelled but later decided to take a break from the sport for about four years. “I swam my sophomore year in high school, but just for fun. I wanted to see if I wanted to get back into it. I definitely think that break helped me because it gave me new motivation, new drive for the sport. When I was younger, I was almost getting burnt out a bit, just kind of, 'I don't want to do this anymore, I want to do something else'. It forced me to find the passion on my own again.” (, 16 Jul 2015)