Omaha, NE , June 29th, 2012
By Greg Earhart
"They tried to get rid of us and they found we're not that easy to get rid of."
A couple of days ago I hypothesized that if you had a team you had a chance.
Scott Weltz proved me wrong. Scott Weltz was wronged when UC-Davis cut their team, but en breaking the Olympic Trials record in the 200 Breaststroke and earning himself a spot on the plane to London, he showed that it wasn't a team he needed, it was a coach willing to do anything to help their student athletes.
That's where Peter Motekaitis comes in. The guy lives and breathes Davis swimming. Not just UC-Davis where he was an All-American and head men's coach for a decade and a half, but also past coach of the Aquadarts and, until 2008, head coach for the local high school. The guy is as passionate as his shoulder-length locks are long.
The loss of the UC-Davis men was a blow. "Every year on the anniversary you see it on his face," Weltz said.
"To see the pool half-empty just crushes me" says Motekaitis.
"We did everything we could." Motekaitis and Women's Head Coach Barbara Jahn offered to coach for free. They offered to give up their scholarships. They offered to fundraise. They didn't complain, they sought solutions.
"People say we would have complained. We would have worked just as hard, harder really."
Unfortunately, it seems the administration worked even harder to undermine their efforts.
Its easy to see his win tonight as vindication, as a F-you to the UCD administration, or an against-all-odds story. No doubt Weltz's win is a hell of a story. Over the coming weeks we'll learn more about the guy so poor he rides his bike to practice because driving is too expensive and whose only training partner is the MIchael Phelps cutout he sees at Subway the half-dozen or so times he eats there each week. In the meantime, however, its a great example of what one athlete can do when he has a coach who believes in him.