VHSL Class 5 Swim Championships A7316

J.R. Tucker’s Matthew Whelan (foreground) pulls ahead of Stone Bridge’s Steven Thalblum to win the boys 100-yard butterfly in the Class 5 swimming championships.

Age: 17

GPA: 4.54

Athletic accomplishments: A senior swimmer, Matthew finished first in the 200 medley relay and the 100 butterfly at the Class 5, Region B meet. At the state meet, he won the 100 butterfly and was a member of Tucker’s first-place 4x100 freestyle relay team. He also finished second in the 50-yard freestyle. He has committed to Duke.

Academic accomplishments: Matthew is a member of the National Honor Society, Science NHS, Mu Alpha Theta and Beta Club. He’s a three-time USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.

Favorite class: “Right now, it’s probably IB biology with Mr. Cuccherini.”

Matthew Whelan

Matthew Whelan

Three words to describe him: “Funny, motivated, honest.”

Strength: “My ability to see my weaknesses and improve upon them.”

Toughest opponent: “The coaching staff at my year-round club (NOVA).”

Working to improve: “In swimming, underwater kicking. In life in general, I’m working on trying to get a healthier life: more balanced, not just spending all my time in school and swimming, giving back to the community and spending time with my friends and building relationships.”

Best sports memory: “When I was 13 when I was part of the national record-breaking 800 freestyle relay for 13- and 14-year-olds.”

Favorite food: “El Caporal,” a Mexican restaurant in Henrico.

Favorite dessert: “My mom’s apple pie.”

On his playlist: “Almost all hip-hop and rap.”

Most embarrassing thing on his playlist: “I’ve got some old pop songs I haven’t had time to delete.”

If he had one wish: “1,000 more wishes.”

One thing most people don’t know: “I actually like being quiet and having time alone.”

If he could go on any reality show: “The Amazing Race.”

Best swimming skill: “Butterfly on top of the water.”

Hidden talent: “Scuba diving.” He’s certified to 100 feet.

Dream car: “The LaFerrari.”

If he could travel anywhere in the world: “Probably the Cayman Islands.”

Pets: “Three cats, and I’m starting a saltwater fish tank.”

Hero: “My parents.”

If he could have dinner with anyone dead or alive: “My grandfather.”

If he could have any superpower: “I’d be able to instantly teleport to anywhere.”

Enter your email address and submit to receive RTD Sports emails each weekday morning

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Sports reporter

Eric Kolenich writes sports stories for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, focusing on local athletes and teams. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a BA in English and joined the paper in 2009. (804) 649-6109

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.