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.
|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.