Posted on August 2, 2012 at 8:57 AM
Thursday, Aug 2 at 9:13 AM
LONDON, U.K. -- He is the gold medal Olympian nobody knows. A man who can walk through Olympic Village without turning a head.
It was a race to remember on Tuesday night, but earlier in the day, SwimMAC's Davis Tarwater helped qualify that 4x200 team for the finals.
"It's the coaches' decision,” Tarwater said. “I was brought here in order to swim the morning relay in order to qualify the guys. Qualify the relay and give the guys who would swim at night a break."
While Phelps made headlines Tarwater did not. But he feels lucky to be here.
Five weeks ago, for the third time, he came up short at the Olympic trials in Omaha and Tarwater retired from the sport.
"It's the last race I'll ever swim and its been a blessing to finish my career in the Charlotte area,” he said.
Tarwater flew home to Charlotte, but within hours was told that Michael Phelps had dropped out of one Olympic race. Tarwater was named to the U.S. team.
"The last month has been the most unbelievable, emotional roller coaster for me and to go from not making the team to, you know, standing here in London as an Olympic gold medalist is just the most surreal thing,” Tarwater.
While Tarwater's career is surreal, his personality is cerebral with a sense of humor.
He was a student at Oxford University. He also marvels at his ability to grow a beard.
“I shaved yesterday, he said. “So, I would say by the weekend I'll have an inch or two of growth. Just because I'm so manly I can grow hair so fast."
As Tarwater takes a break from the razor and takes in London his future is uncertain.
“Right now, I need a break, for sure, the lead up to the Olympics and the emotional month that I've had,” Tarwater said. “I need a little bit of a vacation and I think during that time, I'll decide what's next for me and what's best for my career and my life."