Rob Whitacre from the Central Jersey Aquatic Club has verbally committed to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Whitacre hails from Central Jersey Aquatics, the same team that produced Olympian and NCAA Champion Connor Jaeger, where he trained under coach Corrina Weinkofky.
“Academics was my main focus in deciding, and their ability to combine that with a near top-25 program that has been sending a good amount of guys to NCAA’s was attractive to me,” Whitacre said. “As well, the great members of the team who even while I was only there for 2 days made me feel like I was a part of the team, and the way coach (Tim) Welsh and coach (Matt) Tallman seemed like they were coaches, but also pretty friendly to the swimmers, and that’s an environment I think I could thrive in.”
He’s primarily a backstroker, with yards bests of 49.72 and 1:48.63 – both of which were done in the spring of his junior year. That junior year took Whitacre from a guy who might be looking at D-II or D-III schools (or perhaps not swimming in college at all) to one of the top recruits in the state of New Jersey and a solid Division I prospect.
In the 100 yard back, over the course of a year he knocked off almost four seconds from his best time. In the 200, the move was even more stunning – in one season, he knocked off over six seconds from his best time.
He saw those kinds of improvements across-the-board. He dropped five seconds in his 200 free, for example, to land at a 1:41.79. He swam sizable lifetime bests in other events mid-season. Whitacre is getting very good in a hurry.
“My improvements had a lot to do with growth. When I was younger and even up until last year I wasn’t even close to where I am today time-wise. I started with more dry lands training, working with a local triathlete Turby Wright,” Whitacre said. He now stands 6’4″ tall.
“Along with growth, a lot of it had to do with a self-belief that my coaches instilled from me from a young age,” he added. “Cathy Corcione and Corinna Weinkofsky always told my parents I had the potential but just needed to hit my growth spurt. I’m 6’4″ now and having my coaches giving me this confidence and knowing that they have had swimmes that have been great and being able to have relationships with them like Connor Jaeger, among others, helped me a lot.”
Like Jaeger, he’s also a New Jersey ocean lifeguard and competes