Scott Weltz’ awards keep on piling up.
In his freshman season, he was named Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, the first Aggie to ever garner a Big West honor.
The conference recognitions didn’t stop there.
After being named Big West Conference Athlete of the Year last season, he has already collected two Big West Conference Player of the Week honors this year.
In addition, Weltz ranks second in the country in the 200 individual medley, third in the 100 butterfly and ninth in the 200 breaststroke. He also qualified for the Olympic trials in 2007-08 and raced against Michael Phelps in two events.
Before the start of the Big West Conference Championships in Long Beach, Calif., Weltz sat down with Aggie Sports Writer Matt Wang to discuss his team’s undefeated season as well as the upcoming conference championships.
The men’s swimming and diving team beat UC Santa Barbara for the first time ever. How do you feel about that win?
That was one of the highlights of my swimming career. In the past, I’ve swam like crap against them. It felt good to beat them in our home pool. They’re better in dual meets, while we’re better in conference play. To beat them at what they’re better at – It gives us a lot of confidence to know that we can beat them.
At that meet you had three individual wins. What are some other highlights of the season?
In the losing column, we have the number zero. We started the season against Denver, and coach Pete [Motekaitis] said if we opened the year well against Denver, we have a chance to go undefeated.
Was your close loss to UCSB last season at the conference championships motivation for you guys?
All of us wanted it really bad coming off a tough loss at conference last year. We knew we could do it. Last year, it was us versus UCSB the very last day. We lost by such a close margin.
We’ve talked a little bit about the regular season. Now that it’s over, how have you have prepared for the Big West Conference Championships?
Pete keeps telling us our main goal is [to win] championships. He told us he wasn’t going to rest us against UCSB. He’s smart. We ended up getting a win. He knows what he’s doing. He keeps us all together. He’ll write things on the whiteboard, print things out. That’s really helpful. It’s the preparation. You can’t change things at the meet.
What kind of mindset do you want to have going into conference championships?
I’ve heard of some people wanting to think positive. Just personally, I like to think about the bad things I’ve done. If I can fix that, I’ll be good. Yet, at the same time, you have to stay positive, pumped up and feeling good.
How does going to conference championships compare with competing in the Olympic trials?
[Conference championships] easily tops that. Being part of a team and winning something together as a team is so much more rewarding because you have to rely on the team and trust your guys.
You talk a lot about trusting your guys. Describe how your team has influenced you.
In swimming, you can’t swim everything. I trust my teammates. We’re 8-0, but I’m 6-0. I’ve missed two meets. I know they’re going to step up [when I’m not there].
What are your plans after graduation? Is swimming a possible career for you?
I keep getting asked that. I really have no clue. I’ve been swimming since I was eight, and that’s a long time. There are a lot of plusses from not swimming. Not being in the pool when the ground is frozen, not waking up at 6 a.m., being able to ski in the winter. I need that competitiveness, though. It’d be nice to keep swimming. Right now, my focus is on getting through NCAA Championships. I really haven’t thought about swimming until the 2012 [Olympic trials]. It is a big commitment, you can’t half-ass it.
You’ve been swimming since you were eight? How did that start?
I have no clue. I was just asking my mom about this. Somehow I started year-round swimming. I really don’t know why. My mom said she put me in because I was too hyper. She told me I had way too much energy and needed and outlet. Once I started, I loved it.
What has been your favorite class here at UC Davis?
Any geology class with Dr. Osleger. Just being an econ major, things got dry.
So you’re an econ major, yet you take geology for fun?
Exactly, that’s what I do. I should have been a geology major.
Okay, what’s been your least favorite class then?
It was when I was an engineering major and took a computer engineering class. Computers and I – we don’t mix. It’s a good thing I live with roommates who can fix things. I should have been born in a time before computers. My idea of fixing a computer is hitting it on the side.
Is there anything you’d like readers to know?
Swimming doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. I don’t remember the last time a UC Davis team went undefeated. Our sport doesn’t get enough credit. That’s why it was cool when the band came. Thank you, Band-uh!
MATT WANG can be reached at email@example.com.