PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13. DAVIS Tarwater had a unique journey to becoming an Olympian, and he details the moment he found out he was part of the U.S. Olympic team on today’s edition of The Morning Swim Show.
Tarwater, who will be swimming the 4×200 free relay in London, talks about the disappointment of missing the team in the 200 free, 200 fly and 100 fly, and when he learned he would have to change his plans and join the team. He also talks about the logistics of having seven swimmers on the list for just four positions in the final of the 800 free relay, and how he’s preparing to give it his best shot in London. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Friday, July 13th, 2012. I’m your host Jeff Commings. Davis Tarwater left Omaha with the knowledge that his Olympic aspirations were over, but on his way back home he received word that a surprising turn of events meant he would be an Olympian after all. Now Tarwater is soaking up the Olympic experience and he joins us right now from the team’s training camp in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hi Davis, welcome back to the show how are you doing?
Davis Tarwater: How’s it going Jeff, thanks, good to be here.
Jeff Commings: Doing great I’m sure. Congratulations on being now a 2012 Olympian.
Davis Tarwater: Thanks, thanks it is a great feeling.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, I’m sure it is not the way you had expected it to happen but I am sure you will take it anyway you can get it.
Davis Tarwater: Yeah, certainly I mean obviously I would have loved to have experience the kind of immediacy of being named to the team and seeing my name on the board as an Olympic team member but you know on the other hand this is the way that it happened, and the drama behind it is almost irreplaceable so I really enjoy the ride.
Jeff Commings: Yeah, you will have definitely a unique story to tell everybody from here on out.
Davis Tarwater: Yeah, it is certainly unique.
Jeff Commings: So we will just remind everybody kind of what you did at Trials. You were 7th in the 200 free, 4th in the 200 fly and I believe 5th in the 100 fly is that correct?
Davis Tarwater: Yeah, correct.
Jeff Commings: So you know based on those placings you weren’t on the Olympic team but then on the last day of the meet, Michael Phelps decides that he is not going to swim the 200 free at the Olympics which bumps everybody up. So how did you learn that you were going to now be a part of the Olympic team?
Davis Tarwater: Well I had changed my flight and I had gone home the day where I guess they were swimming the finals of the women’s 50 and 1500 meters for the men. So I was in Charlotte and I had been there for about 20 minutes and I was unpacking my bag and then I got news that Michael had scratched, but I didn’t know what that meant and so you know Coach Marsh at SwimMAC Carolina contact me and just said hold tight. He contacted Frank Busch and there was – and Gregg Troy and it was a very straightforward process. It was a pretty straightforward rule and I was named in the team immediately upon the announcement of you know Michael’s scratch. So David then called me and we had a pretty emotional conversation and he told me to catch the first flight back to Omaha so I put the flight back to Omaha and I was there that night. Unfortunately, not in time to be announced as a member of the team in Omaha, but I was there for mandatory team meetings that followed.
Jeff Commings: I am sure a lot of emotions. I am sure you are going all over the emotional scale when you found out. Tell me what happened immediately after you got on the phone with your Coach David Marsh?
Davis Tarwater: Well, I was just shocked. I mean you know because in the interim between finding out that Phelps had scratched and they announced the team there is just about 20 minutes of tension where I thought you know with all the near misses you know I think I have made something like 7 Olympic Trials finals. With all of these misses it is just — this is the most cruel joke as the final chapter and so I was very nervous and then when they announced that I had actually been put on the team there is this overflowing joy that came and I called my parents and they were very emotional and you know I just called my former coaches Gardner Howland, Matt Kredich and everyone was just really excited so it was really cool moment.
Jeff Commings: If you hadn’t made the Olympic team what would you be doing right now?
Davis Tarwater: You know what, at this moment I would probably — I was actually, when I got the call I was looking at tickets to go visit a friend in Boston and just kind of hang out at the beach. He has a place on the beach and I didn’t really have a return date set so I was just going to kind of decompress for a little while, but you know I walked out of the pool with my head high. You know there is definite heartbreak but I certainly felt good about what I had done and I felt like I swam pretty well. You know there is definitely I definitely felt that I could have swim better, but I swam pretty well and that you know I have no regrets and this is a great experience and so I probably would still be on the beach and sort of beginning to contemplate the next thing.
Jeff Commings: Well you got plenty of beach time once you are done with London.
Davis Tarwater: Yeah.
Jeff Commings: So does being an Olympian now change any of your plans for the immediate future. Do you think you will continue to compete?
Davis Tarwater: I don’t know. You know right now there is just — there is a lot of stuff that is out there that is just too far in the future for me to really wrap my head around, given the fact that right now it is imperative that I focus on you know getting back in shape and being in as a good a form as I can for London and you know after this whole thing is said and done then I will reevaluate what I am doing.
Jeff Commings: So assuming Phelps is still in the equation for that 800 free relay, that puts 7 people buying for those 4 spots in the final. What is the plan for giving everybody an equal opportunity to earn that place in the final?
Davis Tarwater: I really don’t know those details. They haven’t really been sharing with me. The only thing that they have told us is that you know, you know no relay spot is certain and that you need to be prepared to earn it every single day in practice and everyone here has done that and so I can only speak to the fact that I am training as hard as I can every single day and we will see what happens in London.
Jeff Commings: What does it feel like to have the Olympic training camp in your hometown in Knoxville?
Davis Tarwater: It is so cool. The Knoxville community has just had an absolute outpouring of support towards me and this team and it has been absolutely unbelievable. There was 1300 people at the University of Tennessee pool today, you know cheering for practice and people you know — I don’t even think anybody really had a hard practice today. I mean people were kind of just– well most people were just recovering and they were still just so excited to be there and so thrilled and so I think this is a testament to how much this community wants to support this Olympic team and you know, it was just really awesome.
Jeff Commings: Well I know not just the Knoxville community, the entire nation is pulling for the whole country and I know just from hearing people talk after you were named to the Olympic team that you are definitely one of the people that is being really rooted forward to get an Olympic medal, so congratulations again on making the Olympic Team.
Davis Tarwater: Thank you.
Jeff Commings: Best of luck to you in London and even after whatever happens after one of the best luck to you there.
Davis Tarwater: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me on.
Jeff Commings: My pleasure, Davis.
Davis Tarwater: Thank you.
Jeff Commings: All right so that is Davis Tarwater joining us on the Morning Swim Show today. We invite you to join in our conversation with us either hang out at our Facebook page or join us on Twitter. Our Twitter handle is @swimmingworld. That is going to do it for today’s Morning Swim Show. Thanks for watching.
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