Olympic gold medal swimmer revisits Oxford

Oxonian gold medallist Davis Tarwater has celebrated his Olympic success by revisiting the Rosenblatt swimming pool at Oxford University Sport.

Tarwater, who studied for a Master’s in Latin American studies from 2009-2010, won gold for his contribution to the United States team in the heats of the 4 x 200m freestyle relay.

Interviewed for a video by Angel Sharp Media [watch the video], Tarwater credited his time at Oxford for turning around his swimming career. ‘I had no intention of swimming while I was in Oxford and when I was approached by the captain I was like ‘yeah, no thanks’,’ he said.

‘I was burned out, I wanted to focus on my studies but the people in the team were interested in swimming, they were interested on a level that was like ‘we want to be here’. It had always been a job for me so I actually found some love for the sport while I was here.’

During his visit, Tarwater swam lengths of the pool, surprising staff, students and members of the public during open swimming practice.

Jon Roycroft, director of sport at Oxford University, said: ‘One of the aspects we are less well known for is the fact that this swimming pool and our other facilities are completely open to members of the local community.’

Tarwater was watched in London’s aquatic centre by friends from the University swimming club.

Tom Close, 100m and 200m freestyle swimmer for Oxford University, said: ‘One of the best things was he came to our team clearly a lot better than us but he didn’t act like it – he was so willing to help and was just a regular team member. He never talked about swimming when we weren’t in the pool.’

With Davis Tarwater in the team, alongside other talented Oxford swimmers like Tom Close and Kouji Urata (who recently came 33rd in the GB trials for 200m butterfly), it will surprise no one that Oxford comfortably won the men’s Varsity swimming race that year.

It was also a good Games for Oxford alumni in the rowing events. Pete Reed and Andy Triggs-Hodge won gold for Team GB in the men's coxless four, Charles Cole won bronze in the same race with the USA and Constantine Louloudis won bronze in the eights race for Britain.