By John Lohn
ASTON, Pennsylvania, July 1. AFTER more than a decade of unparalleled coverage of the sport with Swimming World Magazine and SwimmingWorldMagazine.com, Phillip Whitten embarks on a new journey this morning. Today, Phil officially begins his duties as the Executive Director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
During his time with Swimming World, Phil established himself as a bulldog journalist and crusader for the sport of swimming. Aside from leading the charge against the dissolution of collegiate programs, Phil was at the forefront in the fight against doping. In between, Phil crafted countless feature articles and reported on the major news in the sport.
On a personal level, I owe Phil a great deal. In late 1999, I called Phil — out of the blue — with a story idea on a young breaststroker by the name of Brendan Hansen. Initially, my proposal was turned down. So, I tried again a few months later. Rather than focus simply on Hansen, Phil suggested I package a story on a number of young breaststrokers rising on the American scene, a group that included Hansen, Ed Moses and Tara Kirk. Bottom line: Phil gave me a chance.
As the years rolled on, Phil provided me with the opportunity to contribute regularly to Swimming World. More important, he became a long-distance mentor and friend. Although he was based in Arizona and I was situated just outside Philadelphia, I had the chance to grow and learn under Phil’s watch.
So, I just want to take a moment to say this: Thank you, Phil. Thank you for your love for the sport of swimming. Thank you for your insights. Thank you for taking a chance on some twenty-something kid. And, good luck in your newest journey.