For most watching the US Olympic swimming trials, Scott Weltz seemed an unlikely (and, well, unknown) candidate for the 2012 team. After an upset in the 200-meter breaststroke, though, Weltz beat favorites Brendan Hansen and Eric Shanteau and now prepares for a trip to the London games.
For those of us here in Davis, Weltz’s victory didn’t exactly “come out of nowhere.” As a matter of fact, the road to London began right here. Weltz swam for UC Davis until graduating in 2010 with an economics degree. Even though he never posted a top-eight finish at a senior national meet, coach Pete Motekaitis saw nothing but raw talent.
After Weltz’s college eligibility expired and the UC Davis men’s swim team was dropped, Weltz had no training partners. As a solution, Motekaitis created one that could fit inside of Weltz’s swimming cap: a training chip that would beep every 16.125 seconds while Weltz swam breaststroke sets—the pace he aimed to maintain for each 25-meter segment of his 200 breaststroke. During the trials, Weltz clocked a 2:09.01, nearly an entire second faster than the runner-up.
Photo Credit: The Davis Enterprise
Anyone watching the medal ceremony and news conference following the trials could not help but notice Weltz’s UC Davis T-shirt. The New York Times quotes Weltz saying: “The UC Davis shirt was for all the people who helped me… I was thinking the other day that by making the Olympic team maybe this is turning wheels somewhere that we can get the team back. If that happened, it would be huge. It would mean a lot to me.”
The journey to the Olympic trials and games has demanded more than hard work and determination, but also exceptionally deep pockets on the part of Weltz. For this reason, a Davis-wide effort to support Weltz financially was organized by Christine Lamson Taylor. On the GoFundMe profile for Weltz, Taylor explains that many people approached Motekaitis and his wife asking how to support Scott. Detailing the burden of the expenses thus far, she then writes: “Scott is not expecting this nor is he asking for help but any financial contribution would be very helpful and greatly appreciated.”
So that’s exactly what we all did, because in Davis it’s a family matter. The donation goal was nearly doubled, exceeding the expectations of the project. What can we say? Davis has Weltz’s back. We’re rooting for you, Scott.