Freshmen show glimpse of Texas future
June 26, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. -- Two Texas freshman showed the future of Texas men's swimming on Tuesday with impressive performances in their first Olympic Trials.
Clay Youngquist, a Battle Creek, Mich. native, and Kip Darmody, from Charlotte, N.C., each made the semifinals in their first event of the week. Youngquist was among the top 16 in the 200 freestyle while Darmody did it in the 100 backstroke.
In the morning, Youngquist wowed the crowd when he jumped out to the lead in the first half of the race in a field that included Olympians Garrett Weber-Gale, David Walters, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens. He would finish the race with a 1:49.55 for 13th overall.
"I knew some of those other guys were going to back off a little bit in the front half and get a good last 50 to get in to the finals," said Youngquist. "I wanted to swim my own race in the front half. I was where I wanted to be in the first 100 and just tried to race those guys in the second 100. It was neat being with Berens, Lochte and all of them. I knew on that last wall they were going to kick out."
He came back in the evening and put together another impressive performance with a personal best time of 1:48.42 for 12th overall.
What Youngquist took away from the experience is that he belongs with the top freestyle swimmers in the country. He also got a taste of what it is like to swim on the biggest stage.
"It is awesome and I got the chills when I walked out and heard the crowd," said Youngquist. "Just swimming with those guys, this entire heat I have been watching growing up, and to be right there with them on the line going into the last wall feels awesome. I am very pleased with that swim."
Darmody was equally as impressive. He was placed in the lane next to Lochte in the prelims. For a lot of swimmers that could have been intimidating but for Darmody he battled and came away with a time of 54.93 for 10th in the prelims.
"It was a goal to make the semifinals," said Darmody. "It was an amazing experience. I know I am going to grow from it in my career and hopefully it will carry over to next season and help Texas as much as possible."
Like Youngquist, the experience Darmody gained from his first Olympic trials will only benefit him down the road. His time wasn't as good as the prelims, a 55.03, but it still placed him 11th overall.
"This is my first trials," said Darmody. "I don't know if I can go to another swim meet and say that the atmosphere is awesome. This place is beyond amazing. I feel like I am playing in the NBA or something right now with all the huge lights and the big crowd around me. I love that so many people like the sport of swimming to fly out to Omaha for this. It is a great place with great people and I am loving the moment."
Darmody tried to block out the crowd before his race. He had his earbuds in and was focused on what he was supposed to do. He did, however, acknowledge his Texas teammates when his name was announced.
"I know people are cheering but when I walk out I look for people I know and that gets me fired up," said Darmody. "When my name was announced I turned and threw up the horns proudly to my teammates."
Both Texas freshmen gained good experience in their first year in Austin and the Olympic Trials experience will only add to that as they look to continue the Texas tradition.