Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton's Kyle Whitaker earns second straight IHSSCA Swimmer of the Year honor

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Hes running out of new things to do.

Chesterton junior Kyle Whitaker was named the Indiana High School Swimming Coaches Association Male Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Whitaker is the first two-time winner of the award.

To win it two years in a row and to have the highest score since theyve handed it out, Whitaker started, its a great honor.

Whitaker tallied 342 power points. Points are awarded based on the time a swimmer tallies in their individual events at the State Finals.

Its never been done on the boys side before, Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said. As everybody is finding out, hes a pretty special kid. I think hes going to set some records that wont be broken for a while.

Whitaker was the state champion in the 200-yard Individual Medley with a time of 1:45.25, setting a national public high school record in the event. The swim was the States Performance of the Year.

He also won the state title in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 48.00 seconds. His preliminary time of 47.85 seconds set a state record.

I try not to think about those kinds of things, Whitaker said. If I swim well enough those things happen. The better the swim, the better the chance.

Always one to understate his accomplishments, Whitaker may not even realize the effect hes having on the swimming world.

What Im doing now is a really big responsibility, Whitaker said. I understand that. Everybody is trying to beat me. It gives you that extra energy.

I want to boost Indiana swimming and the last couple of years records are falling like crazy. Its nice to help lead that charge.

And Kinel, whos not new to coaching a phenom, isnt surprised by how well Whitaker handles the accolades.

He has things in perspective as much as you can at his age, Kinel said. I think his parents have raised him to be grounded. Im just amazed how calm and cool he is about everything.

Hes just having fun.

And thats the side the people dont get to see.

I think thats what makes him able to handle the pressure, Kinel said. Hes having fun and, yes, sometimes too much. Ive had to reel him back in on occasion.

But, hes got a long, great career ahead of him. If he didnt take time to be a kid, I think hed burn out.

And even if that happens, Whitaker already understands the legacy hes building.

When I was younger, I wanted to be Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, Whitaker said. If kids now want to be like me thats great. You really have to watch yourself and the things you do in and out of the pool.

You train hard and live up to the reputation. Those other kids are watching and theyre a constant reminder.

So, whats left for the junior. One more year, one more award.

If he wins it again for a third time, whos ever going to do that again, Kinel said. It would be a fitting way to end his career. Hes done about everything else you can do.



Posted 3/13/2009