York College sophomore swimmer Kyle Walthall has been selected to participate in the 2014 NCAA Division III National Championship Meet, it was announced by the NCAA on Wednesday.
Walthall qualified to swim the 100 breaststroke and the 200 breaststroke at the championships. He is the first Spartan swimmer to earn a berth in the Division III National Championships in school history.
Walthall shined at the Capital Athletic Conference championships this past weekend. He won two events, was a part of two record-setting relay squads and earned the CAC Co-Swimmer of the Year award.
Spartan head coach Erin Kurtz is thrilled that Walthall will get a chance to compete at the championships.
"This is so huge for Kyle and the program," said Kurtz. "Kyle completely changed his focus from his freshman to sophomore year and it's proven to be a great success. This is an athlete that does everything you ask of him in the water, pushes through pain and then comes back in on his own for technical work, power rack training or lifting he didn't get to finish. I'm just thrilled with his season and so excited to watch him race on the national level!"
Walthall was surprised to earn the swimmer of the year honors along side of Mary Washington's Alex Anderson.
"Receiving Co-Swimmer of the Year with Alex Anderson was a surprise and an honor," said Walthall. "I knew that Alex was going to win it, and sharing the award with as talented a swimmer as he is was an awesome surprise."
Walthall shattered the CAC, York College and pool records in the 100 breaststroke as he cruised to a time 55.80 in the finals. That mark leaves him with the 11th best time in the nation, according to usaswimming.com. Walthall is 0.6 seconds out of a top-five time nationally.
Walthall's 100 breaststroke championship is the second in as many years for the Spartan sophomore. He broke his own conference and school record by over a second and a half. Walthall won the finals race by over four seconds over St. Mary's Thor Petersen.
Walthall won the 200 breaststroke at the conference championships as he touched the wall in a time of 2:02.50. That time broke the old conference record of 2:05.87 and bettered his preliminary time by a second. That time leaves him ranked 15th in the country.
Walthall is excited to get to the championships.
"Having the opportunity to go to the NCAA championship meet is an incredible feeling," said Walthall. "I would not have been able to go the times I did without our intense training trip to Florida, and my amazing team and coaches pushing me beyond what I imagined my limits to be. I am so excited to represent York College of Pennsylvania on the national stage."
The championships will be contested on March 19-22 at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Walthall will compete in the 100 breaststroke on Friday, March 21 and in the 200 breaststroke on Saturday, March 22.
When asked about his goals for the championships, Walthall kept it simple.
"I would love to make it back for finals in both events. In the 100, I would like to be top 16, and in the 200, I would like to break two minutes and make it back as well."
Walthall is the 10 swimmer to earn a berth under the tutelage of Kurtz and the first in her two years at York.
Kurtz has high expectations for her sophomore standout.
"This meet is about Kyle... I want him to truly enjoy his first NCAA experience. I would love to see him earn All American honors in both of his events and race fast! He's earned this and he's competing with the best in the country I'm just very excited for him to have this opportunity."