Former York College swimmer, Sport Management grad dives into career
Kyle Walthall can still feel the ache of his muscles and the burn of adrenaline when he thinks about swimming in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
The journey began his freshman year at York College of Pennsylvania, when he set two ambitious goals: Win a national championship and qualify for the Trials – two things no Spartan swimmer had done before him.
Four years later, he achieved both, winning an individual national championship in the 100-yard breaststroke and an invitation to Omaha. Along the way, he was a six-time All-American and a two-time Capital Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year.
“It was probably one of the best athletic experiences of my life,” he says.
After graduating in May 2016, the Sport Management major wanted a career that allowed him to stay close to the sport he loves. Thanks to a York College connection, he’s taken his passions and put them into practice by helping others pursue their athletic goals.
A lasting connection
A native of Port Hueneme, Calif., Kyle wanted to spend some time on the East Coast after high school. York College was the right fit.
“I narrowed my search down and loved it,” he says. “I loved the team atmosphere and how the school looked. The Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center was a big selling point.”
It was during his freshman year that Kyle met Tyler Ziegler, a senior Sport Management student who helped guide Kyle when he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go in his career. They swam for the Spartans and spent countless hours together the way athletes typically do.
Their friendship lasted long after Tyler graduated and would later give Kyle the jumpstart he needed to his career.
Putting passions into practice
Kyle landed an internship after graduation with North Carolina’s Barton College athletic staff, helping its new swimming program, coached by fellow York College graduate, Tyler Ziegler.
About two months later, Barton offered Kyle an assistant coaching position. He accepted.
“It worked out pretty nicely,” he said. “I was very happy when they came to me with the opportunity. It’s a perfect way for me to stay close to the sport and help other people find their passions.”
YCP education helps transition
Along with coaching collegiately, Kyle also coaches a U.S.A. program with swimmers who range in age from 8 to 17.
“I’ve had to change my mindset from being a member of the team, to helping lead the team,” Kyle says. “I am really enjoying it.”
Studying in the Sport Management program at York College has helped in that transition.
Kyle’s focus on athletic administration, some of which crossed over into the coaching aspect, has proved to be a great tool for him as he goes from swimming in the lane to guiding those who are in it.
“The Sport Management program allowed me to specialize in what I wanted to do,” he says. “I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the people at York College who helped me along the way.”