Kyle Tschannen is making a name for himself – and that’s not easy to do in his family. When it comes to swimming, the Skyline senior has had to put his time in the pool, turned hard work into low times and has become the kind of swimmer and person any parent would be proud of.
Kyle’s parents, Kent and Dana Tschannen, aren’t your typical parents when it comes to swimming. Both are former swimmers at the University of Michigan – we can’t verify or deny that they met on the pool deck wearing Wolverine caps. What we can easily verify is how good their son has turned out – both in and out of the water. And we have a very reliable source.
“Kyle has always had big shoes to fill with the success of both his parents swimming careers,” says Skyline Coach Mo-Jo Murrett, who in just a short amount of time has won state titles for both the boys and girls teams. “I think he has figured that out and is now forwarding his own path. He is the first guy on the pool deck every day. He comes prepared mentally and physically to swim well every practice and he’s ready for any challenge I throw at him.”
And there’s more.
“As a coaching staff, we are so pleased with the work that Kyle is putting in this year,” Mo-Jo added. “He has become a clear leader in the pool. I believe he has matured as an athlete and as a young man.”
Kyle started swimming at around the age of 7 but not competitively until he reached 10. “What I like about swimming is the end of the season meets and how during them you can really see what you can do and the excitement built up before and at the meet,” he said. “I never took swimming too seriously. Until my freshman year it was always something I just did.”
Kyle swam for the Plymouth Canton Cruisers up until the spring of last year when he switched to Club Wolverine.
“Both clubs have really good coaching and without them I wouldn’t be as good as I am today,” he said.
And Kyle has had some outstanding coaches along his journey, including two people at home who know a little bit about swimming.
“I learned one very important thing from my dad and that’s to not give up during a race,” Kyle said. “He would always tell me a story of how he thought he was swimming slow because the guy next to him swam slow in all his races leading up to that one so he just gave up and didn’t push himself as hard as he could to the finish to find out he was less than .1 off the Olympic trial cut.”
As a freshman, Kyle attended Catholic Central where he swam the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. After transferring to Skyline his sophomore year, Kyle became more of a sprinter and swam all three relays at the state meet. He finished third in the 100 fly with a personal-best time of 49.85 that year at states.
As a junior he ended up doing the freestyle part of the 200 medley relay where Ben Keith took over the fly spot. He also swam the 200 free where he went 1:40.66 and the 100 fly where he touched 50.2 finishing third in both events at the state meet.
Kyle also lead off the 400 free relay followed by three seniors who graduated last year where we ended up first with a time of 4:04.99.
And Skyline ended up first in the team race as well, winning the school’s first boys’ state championship.
“Winning states was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt,” he said. “I was extremely proud of all of my teammates and extremely excited to have achieved something that big.”
Last year was not easy for Kyle who dislocated his kneecap during the first meet of the season.
“I had no idea what to expect the entire season and if I would even be able to swim at all that season,” he said. “After a night in the ER we were told 6-8 week recovery time which is more than half the season, and with most of that time not moving my leg it lost a lot of muscle and strength.
“Sitting out was hard because I felt left out and knowing that I won’t be able to go as fast as I hoped really hurt my mentality.”
Kyle wasn’t able to begin practicing until the end of January. He says starting up again was hard to do especially coming back from a serious injury.
“I was out for a total of eight weeks before starting to practice again but at the six-week mark I started to jump in and try to swim as much as I could,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting much from myself at all that season and I was shocked with the times I was swimming.”
The Eagles remain an elite team this year despite losing a pool full of talented seniors off last year’s championship team. And Kyle is having a blast this season, swimming injury free and being one of the team leaders.
“The team this year is looking very good leading into SECs (Feb. 22-23),” he said. “We’ve already had a lot of fast times and new freshman who’ve really stepped up. So far things look very promising for our end season meets and I’m really excited to see how we end up.”
Skyline usually ends up among the best in the state. And why is that?
“What makes us so successful during my years here is how we aren’t just individual people showing up to practice but we’re a team,” Kyle says. “Everyone on our team pushes each other in one way or another (mentally and verbally) and we cheer for each other and help each other be the best we can at practices and meets.”
Kyle hopes to go in style this year – breaking 1:40 in the 200 free and going 48 (or below) in the 100 fly. “As a team I’m really hoping we can win another state title which won’t be easy but it’s something we can do,” he says.