Charlotte swimmer Ricky Berens is one of the most active Olympic athletes on Twitter, so perhaps it's fitting that he got a really good bit of news via that social media on Monday. (And so did Davis Tarwater -- read on to find out about how he's going to have to "un-retire."
Michael Phelps announced via his coach, Bob Bowman, on Monday in Omaha that he would cut his Olympic program from eight possible events to seven to reduce his workload a bit in London, where the Summer Olympics start July 27th.
The event that the 14-time gold medalist Phelps dropped: the men's 200 freestyle. That means Berens, who finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 200 -- good enough for the 4x200 relay, but not good enough to swim the race individually -- suddenly got another race on his own Olympic schedule.
Bowman put that news out on Twitter, where Berens quickly read it before anyone from USA Swimming had officially contacted him with the change in plans.
"WAIT WHAT!" Berens responded via his own tweet.
Bowman wrote Berens back shortly afterward on Twitter, saying "Happy Monday!"
Berens had already made two events at the U.S. Trials, but both were relays. "I guess I'm a relay swimmer," he said, a bit of disappointment in his voice, after he couldn't make the top two in either the 100 or 200 freestyle.
But now Berens will swim an individual event in London as well, which was his goal all along. Berens and former N.C. state star Cullen Jones will be the two busiest swimmers among the six swim Olympians with connections to the state, each swimming three events in London. Jones has been huge in the trials, finishing second in the 100 free and winning the 50 free.
The Phelps scratch also had wonderful repercussions for Davis Tarwater, the hard-luck SwimMAC swimmer who made three finals at the Olympic Trials, only to barely miss the Olympic team in every event.
Tarwater told me he was retired Sunday night after his last event. Surprise -- he's got to "un-retire" now. Phelps' scratch means one more swimmer also is added to the 4x200 relay, and that place goes to Tarwater, who was first alternate.
That gives N.C. seven Olympians -- four from SwimMAC -- heading into the final event.
And for Tarwater, this is huge. He has been so close so many times. And now, just when he was ready to retire at age 28, he gets one final meet:
9 months ago