Knoxville swimmer Davis Tarwater wins Olympic gold

Knoxville swimmer Davis Tarwater wins Olympic gold

Davis Tarwater (source: SwimMAC Carolina) Davis Tarwater (source: SwimMAC Carolina)

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville swimmer made waves Tuesday at the London Olympics.

Davis Tarwater, 28, a graduate of Webb School of Knoxville, will bring home a gold medal for the 4 x 200 freestyle relay.

Tarwater posted the second fastest time in the relay semi-finals Tuesday morning, but despite that impressive performance he wasn't chosen to compete in the finals for the event.

The U.S. team, comprised of Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Conor Dwyer, won the gold medal Tuesday afternoon in the finals. So Tarwater will also bring home a gold for participating in the morning heat.

"Davis has worked so hard. He's an example of perseverance," said Ned Delozer, Tarwater's high school swim coach.

Delozer coached Tarwater from 2000-2002 at Webb School.

"I think most people thought Davis was a special athlete. He was in that top one percentile to have this opportunity," he said.

For Webb Athletic Director David Meske, Tarwater is an embodiment of the school's program.

"When he was here, he was just a tremendous swimmer. And to see him grow from a high school swimmer and now on to the Olympics is just a great thing to see. He is someone that has always been humble, has worked extremely hard and has always been so positive," Meske said.

Tarwarter was a nine-time High School All-American and was the 2002 High School Swimmer of the Year. He still holds several records at Webb.

"He'll probably hold those records for a long while," Meske said.

Delozer agrees, saying Tarwater was one of the most accomplished swimmers he's ever coached. "Davis is by the far the best swimmer to come out of [Webb's] program," he said.

Meske adds that Tarwater has undergone an incredible journey and has plenty to be proud of.  

"And here's a guy who has had some disappointments. The last Olympics, barely missing it. And that has to be really tough. That has to be tough to work so hard and to barely miss it. So to have his dreams come true is a great accomplishment for him today."

Other East Tennessee Olympian, Claire Donahue, of Lenoir City, tweeted her support of Tarwater, saying, he "swam am amazing race. He split a 1:45.9 on the 800 free relay to go a lifetime best."

The U.S. relay team won by just over three seconds. France came in second and China in third.

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