Reece ties Phelps – It hasn’t sunken in yet (Video Interview)

Produced by Coleman Hodges.

Reported by Mitch Bowmile. 

In the consolation final of the men’s 200m breaststroke, Reece Whitley, 15, swam to a new 15-16 national age group record of 2:11.30 en route to a big win. One heat later in the championship final, Olympic legend Michael Phelps swam a 2:11.30 to finish fifth.

It was a best time for both swimmers as Phelps bettered his prelims time of 2:12.68 and Whitley bettered his own previous national record of 2:12.17.

This morning Whitley finished 10th overall, just missing a spot in finals with a 2:13.42. Tonight he made the most of the consolation final.

Both he and Phelps demonstrated almost identical race strategies tonight, with the biggest difference between their 50 splits being 0.59. Phelps started a bit faster, but at every single wall after the first 50, the two showed extremely close splits.

Both swimmers were consistant throughout the race with the strength coming in the final 100-meters.

50 100 150 200
Phelps 29.74 1:03.50 (33.76) 1:37.26 (33.76) 2:11.30 (34.04)
Whitley 30.33 1:03.53 (33.20) 1:37.24 (33.71) 2:11.30 (34.06)

Phelps is a man who has done it all, although during his illustrious career he’s never really tested the waters in breaststroke. Tonight he fell just short of a podium finish which would have made him one of the few swimmers to ever medal in every stroke at U.S. Nationals.

With Phelps career coming to an end, Whitley’s is just starting. If Whitley continues on the route he’s on now, he will likely become one of the top breaststrokers worldwide by the time he reaches college.

Whitley’s personal best in the 100m breaststroke is currently a 1:01.06, a time that he swam earlier this week. Phelps’ personal best in the 100 breast is a 1:02.54 from an unrested in-season meet.

Although it’s unlikely Phelps and Whitley will race together at the 2016 Olympic Trials, Phelps is looking to make his breaststroke significantly faster. Citing it as his weakness in his IM, Phelps wanted to get closer to a 33-flat breaststroke split in his 200m IM.

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James GP
5 years ago

The Olympics are coming a year early for this kid, but what an exciting talent. And he seems to have a great attitude too. Every interview with him puts a smile on my face.

Reply to  James GP
5 years ago

Agreed, but there is no room for error from the senior breastrokers. Any slip up and Reece 200m, MA100m will be going to Rio.

5 years ago

That guy always enjoys swimming ! and what an enthousiastic attitude ! Bravo Reece

5 years ago

Lol “one of his up and coming events”. Reece is a great interviewer, and shows way more maturity and humility than anyone I knew at 16. Hard to ask for a better group of age group role models than him and Michael Andrew.

Reply to  fatsmcgee
5 years ago

He’s still 15 🙂

Lane Four
Reply to  fatsmcgee
5 years ago

Amen to that!

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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