Webb High School graduate Davis Tarwater was on his way home from the Olympic Trials in Omaha, having just fallen short of making the U.S. Olympic team.
Then he got a phone call that changed everything. He had just landed at the airport in Charlotte when he was told to come back to Omaha, and that he was going to London after all!
Tarwater told WBIR he had already turned his thoughts to retirement when he thought he had not made the Olympic team. At 15 hours, he said it was his shortest retirement.
A space opened up on the team when Michael Phelps' coach announced that Phelps was dropping an event, the 200 m freestyle. While Tarwater won't be sliding into that slot, it did open up a position the 4x200 relay team.
Davis said that he and Phelps talk regularly and that Michael had never indicated he might scratch from the race. "He made the best decision for him, and luckly I was the benefactor of that," said Tarwater, who added he might by Phelps a meal to thank him.
Tarwater will fly back to Omaha this evening to accept his spot on the team, then fly back to Charlotte on Tuesday. Then he'll return to Knoxville with the swimming team next week to begin training for the Olympics.
"I'll be taking some Team USA members to some local hotspots," Tarwater said "and give them a taste of the town hopefully."
Team USA is a favorite to win the gold medal in this event.