The PAC-12 conference has named Lafayette Hill’s Reece Whitley has the PAC-12 Men’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Whitley is a senior and swims for the University of California (Berkley). The award, which is presented in each of the 24 sports the PAC-12 sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.
Whitley competes in the breaststroke and individual medley and is majoring in business administration. He holds a cumulative 3.497 grade-point average and is a three-time College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American first-team selection (2019-21) and two-time Pac-12 Winter Academic Honor Roll selection (2020, 2021). He has also earned 14 CSCAA All-America honors through his first three seasons.
Whitley was the 2019 PAC-12 Swimming Freshman of the Year and a nine-time PAC-12 champion. He has won four individual events and five relay events during his career while serving as a critical piece of the Golden Bears’ three consecutive Pac-12 team titles from 2019 to 2021.
He earned two top-three finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke (third), 200 breaststroke (second) at the 2021 NCAA Championships, and owns three California school records in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, and 400-yard medley relay. Whitley currently owns the NCAA’s third-fastest times in the 200-yard breaststroke and fifth-fastest in the 100-yard breaststroke for the 2021-22 season. Last season, Whitley swam the NCAA’s fastest 200-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:48.53.
For the United States national team, Whitley won the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships before finishing 10th in the 200m breaststroke at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
Whitley was selected to represent the prestigious Haas School of Business at the National Diversity Case Competition during the 2021-2022 season, and is a council member of USA Swimming’s Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition (Team BLAC), which was developed as part of a long-term action plan to provide expertise and strategic guidance to USA Swimming staff and swimming leaders regarding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum one year in residence at the institution. Each PAC-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of PAC-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport’s regular season. The athletics accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in voting for the award.
Photo: University of California