Davis Tarwater, MSc Latin American Studies, St Antony's College
I will be participating in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. The selection for the US team occurred the last week of June in Omaha, Nebraska. In order to qualify for Team USA one had to be in the top two finishers in their respective event or in the top six in an event that comprises a relay. At the Trials I was seventh in the 200m freestyle relay event. However Michael Phelps, after the event was completed, withdrew it from his Olympic schedule, thus moving me into the spot.
I did not intend to continue competing athletically upon the completion of my Masters' Degree in 2010. However, after seeing the calibre of student attending Oxford, I realized that athletics was a good way to affect and inspire others, and for me to further develop personally. My friends in college were very supportive in encouraging my return to sports. My time at Oxford significantly helped open my mind to new possibilities and encouraged me to constantly strive for self-betterment in my athletic pursuits.
The opportunity to return to London as an Olympian also played a major role in my decision to return to sport after 2010. I felt like I had "family" in the United Kingdom that comprised of friends from St Antony's, other athletes I met while a member of the swim club at Oxford, and other students from my classes. I have missed living in the UK and am thrilled to return as representative of not only the United States but also as a proud Oxford graduate.
I would encourage any student who hopes to qualify for the Olympics to evaluate their course work and future plans in advance in such a way that allows them the ability to dedicate the requisite amount of time to the pursuit. This is critically important the year of the Games themselves. I am certainly not advocating dropping out of school, but dedicating oneself to the process takes planning, time and discipline.
I was very inspired by the brilliant attempt made by my former Oxford teammate (and guy who still owes me a Domino's pizza for giving him his first ‘high tech' swim suit) Jack Marriott. Jack's dedication over the course of this year has been truly inspirational. I look forward to following his career and British Swimming has a lot to look forward to in terms of Jack's future. Ultimately, I compete better when my brain is stimulated. l leave my training at the pool and don't take it home. So I would certainly recommend balance in life to achieve maximum results.