Gateway: Living

2016 Student of Distinction: Whitney Mundle

Whitney Mundle is not only one of the top scholars at Peninsula High but also one of the top athletes in the state. Described as an optimistic person who has an infectious laugh, Mundle has maintained an excellent GPA while swimming competitively year-round.

“Her attitude, spirit and confidence are infectious, making a positive difference to any group that she is a member,” says her physics teacher, Hans Brockhoff. “Showing a deep concern for others, Whitney delights in helping her fellow students become successful, never seeking the credit when working on team projects, even when it is due her.”

Mundle began swimming lessons when she was 2 years old and loved being in the water. While she tried other sports — ice skating, horseback riding and gymnastics, among others — she focused on swimming since age 10. By the time she was 12, she became the top swimmer in the Pacific Northwest in her age category, making her one of the 10 fastest swimmers on the West Coast.

“Winning that championship meet was one of my high points and a proud moment,” she said.

During her busiest training time as a member of both Peninsula’s varsity swim and dive team and Tacoma Swim Club, Mundle trained as many as 20 hours a week, not including classroom-theory time.

Her Tacoma Swim Club coach, Dennis Anderson, said one of her best traits is her positive attitude.

“She definitely learned, sometimes through adversity, that hard work and perseverance pays off,” Anderson said. “She’s not a quitter.”

After fracturing a rib last year, Mundle had stop swimming for a year. But instead of giving up on her goals, she worked hard her senior year to achieve her dream — of placing high enough at state to be on the podium.

“Because I worked so hard, I made state and ended up getting one of my best times and squeezing into the top 8, so I finally got a medal and got to the podium,” she said.

Mundle said that maintaining good grades with her busy schedule has been stressful at times, but she succeeded thanks to her time management as well as the support of her teachers.

“She is hardworking, consistently focused, compassionate, and has an outstanding attitude,” said her English teacher, Andrea Kurtz.

Following her love of math, Mundle plans to study business or accounting at Pacific Lutheran University of Loyola Marymount while joining the college swim team.

Category: Athletics

Education: Senior, Peninsula High School

GPA: 3.86

Parents: Dan and Jeri Mundle

Activities/Achievements: varsity swimming team captain, 4-time league champion (200 IM and 100 breaststroke), state qualifier, 8th at 3A state meet; swim and dive team MVP; National Honor Society; SPSL Scholar Athlete; Athlete of the Year nomination (2); PHS Scholar Athlete; WIAA Distinguished Scholar; Tacoma Swim Club; volunteer for SAVE, Relay for Life, coaching kids swimming; Congress of Future Scientists and Technologists; 4 AP/Honors courses

Favorite teacher: Andrea Kurtz, English. “She keeps a fun and exciting atmosphere, which makes learning enjoyable. She is always positive, encouraging and willing to help you succeed.”

Best thing about high school: “Everyone is very accepting. There is next to no bullying and it is a place that I and others feel comfortable and safe at. Everyone is willing to be your friend.”