|Full name||Klete Derik Keller|
|National team||United States|
|Born||March 21, 1982|
Las Vegas, Nevada
|Height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight||214 lb (97 kg)|
|Club||Trojans Swim Club|
|College team||University of Southern California|
Klete Derik Keller (born March 21, 1982) is an American former competition swimmer who won medals at the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
Keller was born March 21, 1982, in Las Vegas, Nevada to mother Karen and father Kelly. Both parents were intercollegiate athletes at Arizona State University; his father played basketball and his mother swam. His older sister Kelsey swam for University of Washington, and younger sister Kalyn swam for University of Southern California (USC) and competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
During the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004, Keller held off a charging Ian Thorpe in the anchor leg to win the race by 0.13 seconds. This was the first time Australia had been beaten in the event in over seven years. In January 2016, Andy Ross of Swimming World named it as one of the greatest Olympic relays of all-time.
The American relay of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay, and Keller were undefeated in competition from the Athens games onward. Vanderkaay, Larsen Jensen, Erik Vendt, and Keller made up the core of the premier American mid-distance/distance freestyle swimmers.[when?]
From 2004 to 2007, Keller trained at Club Wolverine, run at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor under Jon Urbanchek and later Bob Bowman. Urbanchek would also be the coach of the three Olympic swimming teams which Keller competed on. In 2007, Keller left Ann Arbor and returned to USC to finish school and train under coach Dave Salo.
In his 2006 season, at the U.S. championships he achieved the top time in the wold in the 400 freestyle (3:44.27). He also won three medals at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships that year.
Twice during his career, he was the cover athlete of the magazine Swimming World.
2021 storming of the United States Capitol
Keller was identified as a participant in the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, where he was seen inside the Capitol Rotunda in a crowd of people clashing with police officers. Keller's presence was reported to authorities by several people who saw a video posted by conservative outlet Townhall. Some of the people who recognized Keller in the video said that he had frequently posted pro-Donald Trump content on his social media accounts. His social media accounts have since been deleted. Several former teammates and coaches had been among those who reportedly identified him. He was able to be recognized, in part, because of his height, the fact that he was wearing a U.S. Olympic team jacket, and that his face was unobstructed in the video (he was not wearing a protective mask on his face despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, instead leaving an apparent face covering hanging around his neck).
On January 13, for his involvement in the storming of the Capitol, Keller was charged with obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Depending on the outcome of his case, Keller could face up to 15.5 years in prison. Keller surrendered himself to federal authorities the following day. He was released from custody the same day, without having to make any payment. A federal judge ordered him not to travel to Washington, D.C. anytime before January 21, which is the day after the inauguration of Joe Biden. After then, the judge will allow him to travel to Washington, D.C. for court appearances and to meet with lawyers, but will require him to ask permission before making any trips to North Carolina, where his children live.
Having left in 2001 to focus on swimming, he returned to USC in 2007 to complete his bachelor degree. He was originally studying science and public policy. He, at one point, was studying construction management. He ultimately received his degree in public policy and real estate development, having attended both USC and Eastern Michigan University for his college education. Keller would later recount that he had, ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics, considered instead attending Arizona State University in order to study criminology.
Even during his swimming career, Keller was reportedly beset by personal difficulties. Per Jon Urbanchek's later account, ahead of the 2004 Summer Olympics, Keller suffered a period of insomnia and malaise, which resulted in an "emotional breakdown".
After his swimming career, Keller worked a series of jobs in sales and finance. In February 2013 he began working at the Memphis, Tennessee office of Cantor Fitzgerald as a debt trader. He would, in 2018, reflect on his career in sales and debt trading in an interview that, "Swimmer had been my identity for most of my life, and then I quickly transitioned to other roles and never gave myself time to get comfortable with them. I really struggled with things. I didn't enjoy my work, and that unhappiness and lack of identity started creeping into my marriage." In an interview years later for a podcast by the Olympic Channel, Keller commented on his performance as an employee at this time, saying that he had set high expectations for himself, but had been "entitled" in the workplace, as well as a bad employee.
In 2018, Keller revealed that in January 2014, after going through both his divorce and becoming unemployed, he had become homeless and lived out of his car for roughly ten months (managing to shower at a gym, where he still had a membership). He also said that, for four years, he lacked visitation rights with his children, making him unable to see them, despite living only minutes away from them. In an interview he conducted in the spring of 2014, he stated that he was no longer certain of the whereabouts of three of his Olympic medals. In the same 2014 interview, Keller also said that he had failed to find similar successes in his endeavors after retiring from swimming. He said that he made the mistake of not having the foresight to plan for his post-swimming career, and felt somewhat "bitter" both towards himself and his sport. He expressed regret for having continued swimming for another four years after the 2004 Olympics, saying that he believed, in retrospect, that he should have retired after the 2004 Summer Olympics and gone back to school thereafter.
In 2018, Keller credited his sister Kalyn with having assisted him with what he saw as a personal comeback from his low-point of homelessness, saying that she had taken him in. He said that during this personal comeback, he made a living by teaching swimming lessons and operating swim clinics.
Since 2018, Keller has resided in Colorado Springs. Keller began a career there as a real estate broker, being employed as an independent contractor with the real estate firm Hoff & Leigh. In 2021, when SwimSwam contacted them for their January 11 story reporting Keller's involvement in the storming of the Capitol, Hoff & Leigh confirmed that Keller was still an employee of the firm. The SwimSwam reporter that broke the story commented in their article that the firm "seemed unaware of the Capitol video or Keller's possible involvement" in the storming of the Capitol. Later that day, the firm erased all mentions of Keller from its website. On January 12, 2021, Hoff & Leigh released a statement saying that Keller no longer worked for the company, having resigned, and that they did not condone his actions.
Following his participation in the storming of the United States Capitol, friends of Keller's described him as a strong political conservative and a gun enthusiast, who had expressed increasingly strong support for Donald Trump on his social media in the previous years, particularly in the year immediately prior. He had previously attended the "Million MAGA March", a pro-Trump 2020–21 United States election protest held in Washington, D.C. in late November of 2020. After Keller's participation in the storming of the Capitol time, his ex-wife Cari Sherrill, the mother of his three children, stated that she no longer had a personal relationship with Keller, and remarked that she believed that, "during and since his swimming career, he's had many personal issues he's chosen not to address".
- List of Olympic medalists in swimming (men)
- List of University of Southern California people
- List of World Aquatics Championships medalists in swimming (men)
- World record progression 4 × 200 metres freestyle relay
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