Kyle Whitaker grew up in “the Region” — a suburb of Chicago in northwest Indiana. He believes that growing up in an environment that fostered competitiveness through games at swim practice is one reason he turned out to be such an incredible relay swimmer.
As a Freshman, he was part of Michigan’s 800 Free Relay that won Big Ten Championships in 2011. Kyle jumped in 2.14 seconds behind Ohio State because some fellow Freshman (and walk-on*) put up the slowest split of the relay. Kyle anchored in a “nothing now” 1:33.40.
Five years later, he anchored Team USA’s 800 Free Relay at the World University Games in South Korea. Again, he came from behind and ultimately pulled away with a 1:47.4 LCM. Two seconds better than what he went from a flat start.
*the aforementioned walk-on went on to swim at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for Team USA including winning a Silver medal in the 1500 Free (Connor Jaeger)