Did you know that it is Black History Month? During the month of February we honor the achievements of African Americans and recognize their contributions to America. Well this year, it just so happens to also be time for the Winter Olympics, so we also honor talented athletes. Therefor, as an industry leader in the swimming pool industry, we at California Pools would love to recognize a very special young man who is a phenomenal swimmer and also African American. His name is Reece Whitley! The Denver Post said that Whitley is “The future of U.S. swimming.”
Reece Whitley, a native of Philadelphia, is 18 years old, 6’9” tall and currently attends the University of California at Berkeley. In 2015, Sports Illustrated Kids named him “Sports Kid of the Year!” At age 15, he won the silver medal in the 100 meter breaststroke at the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore, where he also finished 4th in the 200 meter breaststroke. That same year, Reece won the 200 meter breaststroke at the Speedo Junior National Championships Long Course with a time of 2:12.17. His 200 meter hard breaststroke time of 1:53.66 ranked him 8th Nationally. Being the natural leader that he is, according to Swim Swam News, Reece was voted 1of 5 captains for the 2017 World Junior Championships. At the championships, Reece raced 2 2nd place finishes in the 100 meter and 200 meter breast, giving lifetime bests in both. He also helped the mixed 4x100 medley relay to a silver medal as well!
While certainly Reece Whitley’s swimming statistics prove he is definitely a talented and up and coming swimmer to watch, we know it isn’t always easy. Training takes time, perseverance, dedication and a desire to never give up! According to a recent study by the USA Swimming Foundation, 64% of African American children have low to no swimming ability. With a role-model like Reece, we sure do hope that more kids are inspired to learn not only how to swim, but how to break molds and reach for their dreams. Swimming is a fantastic sport for boys and girls and men and women of all ages. It can be fun or competitive and it always is a wonderful form of fitness.
At California Pools, we take pride in following athletes in the swimming pool, and are so proud of the example that Reece Whitley is setting for all Americans. Reece was quoted by the Denver Post when asked about his potential impact on swimming because of his skin color, he patiently responded “Right now it’s a relevant question, so I don’t take any shame in answering it,” he said. “At the end of my career, if I look back on it and that question is irrelevant, then that means I would have fulfilled my goals.”
What a wonderful young man and athlete and we are so fortunate he is setting the bar high and being a fantastic leader and inspiration for not only the African American population but for all Americans