Swimmer uses Olympic experience to further goals
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 14:02
At the 2012 London Olympics, competing alongside the likes of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, junior education major Camille Adams said she felt like a “small fish in a big pond.”
In the 2013 SEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships — which began on Tuesday — the fifth-place finisher in the Olympic 200-meter-butterfly isn’t so easily overshadowed.
Adams said asking questions of Phelps, Lochte and other Olympians was of benefit to her.
“It was such a close team, in spite of having a big age difference,” Adams said. “It was so good to hang out with [Phelps], [Lochte], Natalie [Coughlin], Rebecca [Soni], and Dana [Vollmer], to have people to rely on and to ask them questions.”
Adams said she enjoyed seeing the support given to the U.S. Olympic team, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate the 12th Man.
''It has been fun to see so much of the 12th Man come to the meets,” Cammile said. ''I don’t think you get that kind of school spirit anywhere else. It speaks volumes about the University.''
Hailing from Cypress, Texas, Adams started to swim at the age of four. Since then, there has been only one thing on her mind.
''My first swim meet was when I was five,” Adams said. “My dad was a swimmer, he was a swimmer in college and he is a coach. So he got me into it.''
Coming to Texas A&M was an easy choice for her, and it speaks volumes about the quality of the program here.
''I looked at four different schools; they are all in the SEC now,'' Adams said. ''Looking back, I definitely feel like I made the best decision. I don’t think I would have been near this happy and swell anywhere else.''
12 Aggie Olympians competed in the 2012 Olympics, evidence of the niche the program has created.
''Coming to A&M and having 35 to 40 girls to train with has been such a blessing,'' Adams said. ''It has been so much fun just having someone that will always push you and race you in practice.”
Her performances this season has led to some giving her the title of ''Miss Butterfly,” but her performances have come as no surprise to her coaches.
“[Adams] loves to learn about the sport and is willing to try new things to help her get the edge over her competitors,” said Tanica Jamison, A&M assistant women’s swimming coach. “[Adams] finds a way to give her best despite how she may feel on any given day.”
Adams’ fifth place finish in the 200-meter-butterfly event in London didn’t mark the end of her Olympic aspirations. She looks to compete in the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
''I’ll definitely swim for more years,'' Adams said. ''I have two more years of school left. After Rio, I’ll assess whether I have to keep swimming or what to do and see what I am going to do at that point. For me, now, the goal is to get a medal.''
A&M’s head women’s swimming coach Steve Bultman said he is excited for Adams’ progress and for what she can achieve in the future.
“I think she will continue to improve and get better,” Bultman said. “She has become a force to be reckoned with on the national scene and is just starting to realize how good she could be internationally.”
Jamison said the “sky is the limit” for Adams.
“I believe she can accomplish great things, maybe greater than she may think is possible,” Adams said. “If she continues to progress like she has over the past few years, it’s scary to think what she could become.”
Adams leads the No. 9 A&M women’s swimming team into the SEC Championships against such schools as No. 3 Auburn and No. 4 Tennessee, running from Tuesday to Saturday in College Station at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium. The No. 18 A&M men’s swimming team will face five teams ranked in the Top 20, including No. 5 Auburn, which has won the past 16 SEC men’s swimming titles.