Charlotte Grand Prix

Swimmer Tyler Clary focuses on going fast in the pool and on track

CorrespondentMay 18, 2014 

Tyler Clary has dreams of one day racing on the NASCAR circuit.

However, before he drops the green flag in that sport, Clary has his sights set on other goals – a world championship, and another gold medal.

So even if Clary didn’t win in either of the two finals he swam in during the final day of the Charlotte Grand Prix, he said it’s all part of the process to prepare for the important stuff.

“Winning at these meets is cool and everything, but it really doesn’t mean much,” said Clary, who recently began training with the SwimMAC program. “We’re looking ahead to the world championships, and the Olympics (in 2016).”

Clary finished fifth in the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 2 minutes, 3.78 seconds, more than five seconds slower than winner Thiago Pereira of Brazil, who finished in 1:58.44.

Less than 15 minutes later, Clary was back in the pool at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center for the men’s 200 backstroke – the event he won the gold medal in at the 2012 London Games. However, Clary finished second to Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin. Vyatchanin won the event in 1:55.33, with Clary coming in at 1:58.03.

“I knew my shot at winning was pretty much out the door,” Clary said. “The only thing that double was meant to do was really stress my backstroke, and see if I could hold it together under a lot of pain and fatigue.

“I still had the fastest last 50 (meter leg) out of that (backstroke) heat, so that’s a good sign.”

While Clary is focusing on his swimming, he’s also working towards his second career – stock car racing. He’s been aided in his quest by NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, with the two working out a trade of sorts.

“I’m helping him out with his swim stroke, because he’s madly in love with triathlons right now,” Clary said. “In return for me helping him out with his stroke, he’s letting me shadow him and kinda mentor me through the process of starting out in the lower levels.

“The whole idea is to get me as much seat time as humanly possible without taking too much away from swimming. That’s why I moved down to Charlotte – it’s the heart of NASCAR.”

•  Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu completed a strenuous weekend at the Charlotte Grand Prix, winning both the women’s 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke Sunday.

That gave Hosszu six wins in seven events over three days. She won the women’s 200 freestyle and 400 individual medley on Friday, and the 200 butterfly and 100 backstroke on Saturday.

•  SwimMAC swept the two 400-meter medley relay titles. Its men’s team – anchored by Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones – won in 3:45.57, while its women’s team won in 4:10.62.

•  Other event winners Sunday were Denmark’s Lotte Friis (women’s 800 freestyle), Allison Schmitt (women’s 100 freestyle), Anthony Ervin (men’s 100 freestyle) and Connor Jaeger (men’s 1,500 freestyle).

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