Tarwater's Olympic dream fulfilled with gold

LONDON (WVLT) -- When Davis Tarwater wakes up from his Olympic dream, he'll have gold around his neck.

The Knoxville native and Webb School graduate was part of the United States 4x200 freestyle relay team that won gold Tuesday at the London Olympics.

"It was really an unbelievable day. Probably one of the best days of my life," Tarwater told Local 8 Sports.

"To be able to come out in such an electric environment and to be able to represent the red, white, and blue, it was really a surreal experience for me. I'm just so blessed to be a part of it. Just so blessed to be here and have this chance."

A chance is all Tarwater ever wanted.

In 2008, he was considered to be a lock to make the team in the 200-meter butterfly. Olympic dreams were crushed, however, when he finished .06 of a second out of second place, failing to make the squad.

It was believed dreams of making the 2012 team also ended. Tarwater posted the seventh fastest time in Omaha at the trials in the 200 meter freestyle. The top six make the team as part of a relay.

But when Michael Phelps announced he wouldn't swim the 200 freestyle in London, that put Tarwater up to sixth and on the team.

Tuesday, he did not disappoint.

"We got the USA in a great spot so the other guys could take over. I think overall it was a really awesome team effort and I'm just thrilled to be a part of it."

The United States cruised to the fastest time during preliminary heats. Tarwater was the third leg of the relay. He swam his part in 1:46.33, which was the second fastest of the four, and a personal-best for the former Spartan.

When it was time to swim the finals, the Americans went with Ryan Lochte, Connor Dwyer, Ricky Berens and Michel Phelps. The foursome crushed the field and won with a time of 6:59.70. The French came in second, over three seconds behind. China finished third.

Dwyer was the only American to swim in the prelims, and then again in the final.

It was a position Tarwater says he would have loved to been in.

"I would have loved to have the opportunity to swim. I'll swim as hard as I can any opportunity I can get. But at the end of the day, I'm here to represent the greater good and that's the United States of America. If I'm questioning the coaches, if I'm questioning the other guys, that doesn't make this team better."

"I view my role as being a team player and as being a leader. Would I have loved to swim? Absolutely. Do I support the decision? Yes. Do I support the guys? Yes. I hope I was able to make a positive impact and do whatever I could to contribute because I really think we're picking up some momentum here in London and I think we have a lot of good days ahead of us."

Tarwater is finished with competition at these Olympic Games. He says he will remain in London, though, and lead the way in cheering on his USA swimming teammates.

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