1984 INDUCTION TO THE RHODE ISLAND AQUATIC HALL OF FAME
It is only fitting that Matt Soltysiak and his sister Edna be inducted at the same time in the Hall of Fame, both having excelled for coach Joe Watmough at the Olneyville Boys’ Club. Matt was a state and New England champion in about every distance, and in every stroke during his great A.A.U. career representing the Boys’ Club.
While competing for Central High School, he won individual championships in the Brown Interscholastic Championship meet and in the New England Interscholastic Championship meets. At the conclusion of his high school career, Matt held 6 individual titles in various events.
Before World War II, Matt competed for coach Leo Barry at Brown University. During his three years of varsity competition, Matt was undefeated. At Brown, he competed in almost every event except diving. This included the 50, 100, 220, and 440 freestyle; 200 breaststroke; 150 backstroke; 300 individual medley.
During World War II Matt became an Air Force ace, having more than 300 hours of combat flying time – shooting down 2 Japanese planes. He won the highest Air Force medals for his exploits.
During his 3 varsity years at Brown, Matt won the following: 1938 New England Intercollegiate 300 individual medley, 200 breaststroke, and anchored the 300 medley relay. In 1939, Matt won the New England Intercollegiate 200 breaststroke, 400 freestyle, and anchored the 300 medley relay. Again, in 1940, he won 3 individual New England Intercollegiate titles and anchored the winning relay team.