We are less than two weeks away from the swimming events of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. This year three African Americans have earned spots on the U.S. Olypmic swim team; and for the first time in history there are two African American women on the team. The Black Kids Swim community is inspired by their performance in and out of the pool. More importantly, we hope that their accomplishments will motivate young swimmers to strive for excellence. For the Black Kids Swim Olympic Countdown, we will highlight those swimmers we hope to see in the 2020 games and offer insight into what it really takes to be an Olympian.
Our second pick for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swim team is Reece Whitley for the 100 and 200 meter breast stroke.
Reece Whitley is nothing short of amazing. At the age of 14 he was 6 feet 8 inches tall and qualified for the 2016 Olympic trials. While still excelling in his studies at Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, he made time to stun the world with amazing performances in the 100 and 200 breast and was named Sports Illustrated Sports Kid of the Year for 2015. More than a talented swimmer, Reece is a wonderful young man according to his mother who recently spoke with Black Kids Swim.
But becoming an elite swimmer takes more than height and good luck – it takes daily effort. Elite competitive swimmers typically practice twice a day several days a week. In addition, they incorporate dry land workouts for muscle strengthening. These intense exercises are completed before a rigorous swim workout and they are necessary if you want to be the best.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Whether or not I swim well enough to make a spot on the team … just having this experience is a really good setup for the next four years. It will make 2020 that much more special for me.”[/pullquote]
Dryland workouts, especially for younger swimmers, do not involve heavy weight lifting but rather rely on the swimmers natural body weight for resistance. Typical routines include bodyweight moves like burpees, stomach crunches (with or without a medicine ball), bench dips, box jumps, calf raises, chin ups, curls (with elastic bands), flutter kicks, hip raises, and chest passes with a medicine ball. Incorporating dry land routines into your workout regimen 3 days a week can make you a stronger swimmer.
At just 16 years old Whitley competed in two events at the 2016 Olympic trials; the 100 meter and 200 meter breast stroke. In the 200 meter breast stroke he advanced to the semifinals – confirming he is one of the fastest breast strokers in the United States. Before his race he said “Whether or not I swim well enough to make a spot on the team … just having this experience is a really good setup for the next four years. It will make 2020 that much more special for me.” Absolutely Reece, we’ll see you in Tokyo.
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