Transcript for 2015 Sports Illustrated Kids Athlete Award Winner Revealed
This morning, we're exclusively helping reveal the "Sports illustrated" sports kid of the the year. The olympic hopeful making a big splash in the pool. Linsey Davis has the story. Reporter: Good morning, Amy. Only 15 years old. He's already 6'8". He's still growing. Reece Whitley is being wacalled the next big thing in breaststroke. Everything about this kid is big. His stature, his heart, his winning smile. No wonder he's making waves in the world of swimming and beyond. He's a 6'8" swimming sensation. No one's going the catch lane number five, Reece Whitley. Reporter: At just 15 years old, Reece Whitley is being called the next Michael Phelps. He attributed success now to a failure at summer camp when he was 7. I failed the water test the first time I did it. I told my mom that night. She enrolled me in lessons the next week. And this is what happened. Reporter: Today, Whitley holds five national age group records. Has fast enough times to have already qualified for the 2016 olympic trials. He's breaking barriebarriers, too. 70% of black people don't know how to swim. Yeah. Reporter: What is your reaction? I need to play a key role in integrating swimming. Reporter: People compare you with the best. The most elite of swimmers, how do you take that? At the end of the day, you can't get caught up in that stuff. It throws your mind off. Reporter: He's as humble as he is a hulking figure. And kind enough to give an olympic hopeless like me enough of a head start to experience the thrill of victory that's now old hat for him. Who won? I think linsey got it. Reporter: Not quite sure I can get bragging rights on that one. After 16 hours of practice, he dives into the books and maintains his spot on the the honor roll. Written on the bedroom kreel rg the two times he wants to beat. Pretty impressive. Let's welcome "Sports illustrated" sports kid of the year, Reece Whitley and the man anger of sports illustrated kids, mark Bechtel. Where are your jackets? Reece says it's cold in the pool. It is. This might warm you up. You have not seen the coverer yet? I have not. I have not. Look what we have here. Your cover shot. Let's get your reaction right now. Hey! Look that. Congratulations. How does that feel? It's amazing. The whole process is fun to be a part of. Seeing this is cool. How about increasing the cool level just a bit? We just received a tweet, or just saw a tweet from the first lady, Michelle Obama who just wrote KRON grats @Reece Whitley. We're so proud of you. The day just got better. Definitely. That's awesome. All the hard work. All worth it at this moment. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Mark, I want to ask you. What goes into selecting sports kid of the year. What type of athlete are you looking for? Why did Reece fit the bill? We look for kids to excel on the field and off of it. Or in reec rks's case, in the pool or out of it. He's 15 years old. An elite world class athlete. You wouldn't know it by the way he acts. Everything he does, he just does with this -- this sort of youthful exuberance and joy. And so much humility. And so much humility. He's 6'8". He's gigantic. A lot of kids look up to you. More will now. Who do you look up to? Who hads been your mentor? My parents are my largest mentors. There's no swimmer who can do what my parents do for me. I look to them for the support. They help me out with everything. Just them. Yeah. Congratulations. Thank you very much. An excellent choice. An incredible cover. You should frame that. You should frame that. Definitely. That's going up in the room. Reece, mark, thank you both. Let's go to ginger. We're all inspired over here. Congrats, Reece.
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