PHOENIX, Arizona, July 17. SCOTT Weltz joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to talk about the lessons he's learned so far as a first-time Olympian.
Weltz, who talked with Tiffany Elias at the Olympic team's training camp in Knoxville, Tenn., last week, relived the amazing 200 breaststroke final at the Olympic Trials and how a subpar performance in the 100 breast may have fueled his success in the 200. He also talks about training with his college coach and what it's like to now have some of the best talent in the world in the pool with him. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Tiffany Elias: This is the Morning Swim Show for Tuesday, July 17th, 2012. I am your host Tiffany and today in the FINIS Monitor is arguably the swimmer with the biggest upset at Olympic Trials. Joining us out from Knoxville, Tennessee is Scott Weltz. Scott, thanks for taking a break in your London preparations to join us.
Scott Weltz: Yeah thanks for having me.
Tiffany Elias: All right. So I can imagine these last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for you, so how have you been feeling post Trials and now leading up to London?
Scott Weltz: Yeah, you know there is a lot of you know — really emotional after Trials. It took awhile you know for it to kind of finally set in and then you know kind of exhausting, staying at the meet for a couple of days, going home for a few days and getting some good R&R. And then you know just getting really excited to get back into it and meet up with the wholeteam and you know finally walk around with Team U.S.A was pretty cool and getting introduced places as team U.S.A. So pretty exciting now.
Tiffany Elias: Yeah, I can't imagine that is a different feeling so let's go back and talk about Trials because like I just said you really were probably one of the biggest upsets taking down some legendary swimmers there in your 200 breaststroke, but starting off with your 100 you came it at a 4th place finish, coming back to win the gold n the 200 breast. So what were the emotions after your hundred, how did that race feel and how did it set you up to take that win?
Scott Weltz: After the 100 you know I didn't expect to go anywhere near that good of a time. So looking back you know I really actually, really happy with it but going in the files you know I was ranked second and I kind of give us a little bit of false sense of hope like wow you know I can make the team in 100 and you let the nerves get the better of me. I don't have much you know big race experience like that so I didn't stick to my own game plan. Went away adding a bunch of time kind of died coming home and it is just really, really down about like wow, you know I had this opportunity and now I let it slip and now I got to have all my eggs in one basket again in the 200, but I kind of had to quickly get over that and use that you know as experience and be able like, “Look, I didn't swim my own race. I went slower. I need to stick to my game plan next time.” So I was able to really, really draw on that for the 200 and then you know at the same time I also was so excited in that race to be able to swim with you know some of the great American breaststrokers. You know I think that throughout the years the Americans have had such great breast strokes and you know like Brandon Hansen and Eric Shanteau, so being able to race those guys was really thrilling and exciting for me.
Tiffany Elias: Was it intimidating going head to head with them since you have been following them for so long?
Scott Weltz: I wouldn't say intimidating, but it definitely felt like an honor to be able to you know swim with those guys. I was just so excited I felt like you know I finally made it being able to you know, you know I was right between those two guys going in bringing that finals of the 100 breaststroke and I wouldn't say intimidated because you know I was pretty confident that I could do it, but just really honored and really excited about it.
Tiffany Elias: So your 200 though you would say is your better of the two events.
Scott Weltz: Yeah, that is the one we actually trained for. The 100, we don't really were trained for and tell that a week out of taper, we will do a lot of sprinting, but yeah it really just focusing on you know in practice as mainly pace stuff, short rest things like that and not much sprinting, so the 200 is definitely my strength.
Tiffany Elias: So it is probably a good thing though that your 100 fell before the 200 so that you could really get those jitters out.
Scott Weltz: Yeah, I think it was. Going in now if you know I would rather have you know be really, really fresh and have the 200 first but you are right I think it really helped me out having a 100 first being able to gain some quick experience and learn from it really quickly. I definitely helped in the 200.
Tiffany Elias: So now you really don't have that much experience compared to a lot of these guys. We have seen you on the national level but you some finals here and there, but as far as international competition, you are really one of the rookies on the guy side.
Scott Weltz: Yeah, I mean I literally have zero international competition so I would say yeah.
Tiffany Elias: Right so have these guys been offering you any sort of advice to help get you ready?
Scott Weltz: Yeah, I think so, you know a lot of them really just, I didn't know what it would be like you can go on a trip going London and things like that. A lot of you are really offering up like this is what you need to expect, you know things aren't going to go perfect all the time you have to be able to adapt, go with the flow, just know that you are not going to be in the perfect pre-race environment you know to get all your sleep and things like that so they have been really helpful offering up the things and maybe they learned from their you know either Olympic experience, international experience how they were able to adapt and you know perservere and overcome those things so definitely a lot of help to have a lot of these mentioned on the team.
Tiffany Elias: So now let's talk about training prior to Trials. You dropped a few seconds from your best time in your 200 breast, which is a big deal in any competition so what were you doing leading up to Omaha?
Scott Weltz: Well you know this was the first time I've really focused on a single stroke. I was always a breaststroker, or I was always an IMer with the kind of a stronger breaststroke part. We never trained just for one stroke and you know compared that I guess I wasn't very good at the IM but you know we thought it was pretty good so that is why stuck with it, but when I decided to make this you know close to the Olympics, we knew that IM's were kind of filled. There wasn't really any opportunity in that event so…
Tiffany Elias: A little competitive.
Scott Weltz: Yeah, yeah. A little competitive, so we sat down with my coach and we said, “Let's just go for the breaststroke. Let's choose one thing to focus on.” And this was pre-Brendan Hansen coming back, so it seemed like a little more open. So that is what where we put our mindset. Let's just train breaststroke and we started doing it and then literally I started dropping time, almost like an age grouper. Every time I would swim it I dropped a couple of seconds because it was a lot of learning. We were trying new things but I never just devoted so much time to just a single stroke and think that is what really, really helped.
Tiffany Elias: How long ago did you start making that transition into breaststroke primary?
Scott Weltz: Maybe a year and a half ago.
Tiffany Elias: Okay so relatively new.
Scott Weltz: Yeah.
Tiffany Elias: So now going into it, your strategy. You just blew everybody away that second half. You really going into that final 50 all of a sudden you are charging forward in the race and now controlling the field. Was that your strategy to kind of hold back in the beginning?
Scott Weltz: Yeah, it definitely was. I was joking to my coach that I have always wanted to negative split the 200 breaststroke because I think that would be the best way to do it and he always tells me I am an idiot because you can't negative split a 200 breaststroke, but I mean literally when I swim or I am in practice we do you know all out 200's, I always try to either even or negative split it, because you know when you do that there is no dive. And whenever we do pace I am always trying to swim at you know however tired I think I am going to be and use that much effort and you know in practice we are able to do pace at consistent 33-flat so I knew that, that is what I should be doing on the back half of the race. You know I want to be home in under 1:06 anything with a 5 in it was my goal. So I knew I have to go out a little easier to do that so I mean that was definitely the game plan going in I think we stuck with it pretty well.
Tiffany Elias: 1:03, 1:05 that is about as close as you can get to negative splitting, breaststroke I would say, but now that a lot of these guys and ladies going into London have had so much experience training together whether it is on past teams international teams or even just being at the same club so what is it like now to be training with other elite level athletes?
Scott Weltz: It is really fun. You know the other day we had an all-breaststroke group workout and I was able to get beat up on by Hansen and Shanteau in some sprint 100 and it was kind of cool, pretty humbling and pretty fun. But you know you get to learn from it. I mean it is really exciting to be able to just train with the elite of the elite of the U.S. swim team. You know I am just trying to learn everything I can, pick up you know things I can change between now and then like especially pull-downs and turns where I think I am really bad at and so you know these guys especially you know someone like Hansen and Shanteau have great pull downs, great turns. I watch them a little and see if I can pick up some, because now you know I am not competing against them. We are trying to help each other out so the U.S. can get some more medals.
Tiffany Elias: That is a really important point to make because now you guys are all working together can put that competition aside. So now you have probably only have a few more days in Knoxville and then you guys are off to France I believe is that correct?
Scott Weltz: Yeah.
Tiffany Elias: All right so have they told you much of what is going to be going on in the next couple of weeks?
Scott Weltz: Yeah we have a basic itinerary of what is going on. I think we will be in France for about a week. I think it is probably going to start getting hectic when we get to London. We have more kind of media type of stuff to get involved with so try and get as much training and much rest in before then I think is kind of a game plan.
Tiffany Elias: Now as far as personal preparations are you know looking ahead and trying to study any of the swimmers on the international level to kind of eye up your competition?
Scott Weltz: No you know I think that's where I made my mistakes at Trials, trying to you know change my race to — based on my competition and I think if I am going to do my best I just am going to do what I know I can do and you know swim my own race. I think that is the most important thing so I don't want to get caught up with you know all these big names and these great swimmers I am going to be competing against because I mean time-wise I know I should be able to hang with them so if I just swim my own race and do what I know I am able to do I think that is my best chance.
Tiffany Elias: Well Scott, we are really excited for you here at Swimming World and congratulations on all your success and we look forward to following you through London.
Scott Weltz: All right. Thank you guys.
Tiffany Elias: All right thanks Scott.
Scott Weltz: Bye.
Tiffany Elias: Well that will conclude today's Morning Swim Show, make sure to keep up with all the latest news by following us on Facebook and Twitter @swimmingworld. Thanks for watching I am Tiffany Elias join us again for tomorrows show.
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