Ultimate Swimmer Podcast: Swimming Across the Globe With Darian Townsend


Ultimate Swimmer Podcast: Swimming Across the Globe With Darian Townsend


Darian Townsend was interviewed on the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast this past week and he shared some of his insights on what it takes to compete at the highest level year after year. Below are some of the highlights. Check out the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or anywhere else you get your podcasts to start listening and learning today!

Upsetting the USA in the 4×100 Free Relay In Athens: It came as a shock to most of the world and Darian said “it definitely came as a shock to me,” but South Africa was able to pull off the upset in wire-to-wire fashion. It dominated the field in the 400 free relay in a world-record time of 3:13.17. Below are the splits from the top 3 finishers:

Gold: South Africa (Roland Schoeman, 48.17; Lyndon Ferns, 48.13; Darian Townsend, 48.96; Ryk Neethling, 47.96)

Silver: Netherlands (Johan Kenkhuis, 49.81; Mitja Zastrow, 49.25; Klaas-Erik Zwering, 48.51; Pieter van den Hoogenband, 46.79)

Bronze: United States (Ian Crocker, 50.05; Michael Phelps, 48.74; Neil Walker, 47.97; Jason Lezak, 47.86)

Trained with Florida, Transferred to Arizona: After the Athens Olympics in 2004, Darian went off to college for his freshman year at the University of Florida. After a great freshman year (multi-time All-American) and a mediocre sophomore season, Darian thought it was time to move on. Darian shared that he “was not performing up to his expectations in the long-course pool” and thought a change may help spur some improvement. After the spring of 2006, Darian transferred to the University of Arizona where he went on to become a multi-time NCAA Champion, both individually and as part of relays.

Learning from Frank Busch: Darian immediately felt drawn to Frank Busch and the rest of the coaching staff at Arizona saying, “Frank really became like a father figure to me.” Darian credits a lot of his success to Frank’s ability to get the best out of his swimmers, sharing that Frank was very selective when it came to giving out compliments. When Frank praised one of his swimmers, that was a sign that they were really doing well and Darian felt motivated to work as hard as he could for that recognition. Frank became such a father-like figure that he was even the pastor at Darian’s wedding!

Beating Phelps and Becoming the Fastest Man In History: When asked about his favorite individual swim of his career, Darian highlights his gold medal swim in the 200 IM at the 2009 World Cup stop in Berlin. Darian wanted to swim a strong race in prelims to ensure that he could give himself a shot to race next to Michael Phelps in the evening and that’s exactly what he did. At the time of this race, Ryan Lochte (did not swim in this particular race) had the world record with a time of 1:51.56 and after a hard fought battle with Phelps, Darian touched the wall at 1:51.55. He was .01 under the previous standard. It doesn’t get any closer than that and Darian was the owner of an individual world record.

Becoming A Part of Team USA: In 2014, Darian became an American citizen and competed for the U.S. for a few years before his retirement. It is very unique to compete for two different countries at the international level, but the story gets better. In Darian’s first meets as part of the American team, he was at the Short Course World Champs in Doha and he was honored as the flag bearer for the Opening Ceremonies which was, “a very proud movement” in his career. Darian was scheduled to swim a relay for his first swim as part of the U.S. Team and his nerves were on edge. First, there was an issue with his cap and he had to borrow teammate Abbey Weitzeil’s cap during the race. So, already he was not off to a very good start. Now, here comes the icing on the cake. In this race, the U.S. relay team was seeded directly next to South Africa, Darian’s old teammates. When talking about this swim, Darian says, “I probably had the worst race of my life, ever. I missed every wall, slipped on the blocks. It was a nightmare. I was so nervous.” He went on to say that it was just one of those moments that make our sport so special.

To hear Darian Townsend’s entire journey to becoming an Ultimate Swimmer, you can find the full episode of the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you listen! Hosted by three-time Olympic gold medalist and captain of the 2000 USA Team, Josh Davis, Ultimate Swimmer is a holistic approach to the sport of swimming; building strong hearts, minds, and bodies. This podcast is geared primarily for those of us in the aquatic disciplines of age-group swimming, college swimming, para-swimming, open water swimming, and masters swimming but we welcome all who are interested in peak performance, pursuing excellence and swimming with purpose.

The Ultimate Swimmer Podcast includes interviews with the biggest names in the sport of swimming past and present and we can’t wait for you to join us on the journey to BECOMING an ULTIMATE SWIMMER!

Past Ultimate Swimmer Guests:
• Missy Franklin
• Nathan Adrian
• Hali Flickinger
• The Foster Siblings
• Cody Miller
• Jason Lezak
• Cullen Jones
• Dana Vollmer
• Ella Eastin
• Lily King
• Caeleb Dressel
• Rebecca Soni
• Kim Vandenberg
• Amanda Beard
• Kelsi Dahlia
• Rowdy Gaines, Matt Grevers, Allison Schmitt
• Will Licon
• Michael Andrew
• Kristy Kowal
• Eddie Reese
• Anthony Ervin
• Brendan Hansen
• Lenny Krayzelburg
• Bruno Fratus
• Kyle Chalmers
• Roque Santos
• Elizabeth Beisel
• Mary Wayte Bradburne
• David Plummer
• Gary Hall Jr.
• Jill Sterkel
• Jack Roach
• Daniel Krueger
• Matt Biondi
• Megan Jendrick
• David Marsh
• Ryan Murphy
• Dave Salo
• George Kennedy
•João de Lucca

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