Darian Townsend

1. What is/was the average distance that you'd train
per session during peak training?
6000 yards

2. How many times a day do/did you train?

3. How many times a week do/did you go to the gym?

4. Who was your role model as an up and coming athlete?
Alex Popov

5. What was your inspiration? I.e. what kept you going to the pool day in, day out and kept you focused on your ultimate goal?
My desire to win. Each time I raced and got beaten, it made me more determined to train harder and become faster. Every time I won, it made me want to win more and break records.

6. Do you recommend participation in all sports during your school years or just concentrating on swimming? What are your reasons for your answer?
A young child should play all the sports available to them. You never know which sport you are going to be best at. And once they have found the sport they like, they should continue to play other sports, this gives them diversity.

7. In your opinion is training in the USA the way forward? Why?
At the moment, yes. For swimmers going over the United States, they are given scholarships and the opportunity to race almost every weekend. And at the end of their 4 years, they come out with a good degree. Until South African Universities is able to offer scholarships to swimmers, I believe swimmers are better suited training in the US.

8. What do you think about during training?
Most of the time I am concentrating on my technique and the small things that get me through the water quicker (fast turns, streamlining). I’m pretty much concentrating on only swimming related things.

9. Do you have any tips for up and coming swimmers?
Listen to your coaches. Race every time you get the opportunity, even in training.

10. What is your ultimate dream or goal? Swimming or non-swimming related.
My ultimate swimming goal is break an individual world record. My ultimate life goal is to be financially secured.

11. Can you give some examples on the things people do to psych each other out before races? Do these sorts of things happen often? How do you deal with it?
The most common form of psyching someone out is usually done when the swimmers have reported for the race and are waiting together. Someone will start talking to another swimmer, saying how bad they feel or how much they suck, or about the after party. This is done to try distract the other swimmer. Or they will tell them of a good time they did in the warm up, which is usually a made up time.

12. Who is your favourite sports person?
Lance Armstrong

13. Who in your eyes is the ultimate competitor?
Lance Armstrong. To come back from cancer and the win the Tour de France 7 times is amazing. Plus then to deal with all the pressure from the press about doping, and still stay a nice guy. He managed to stay focused through all the distractions.

14. Where did you go to school?
Maritzburg College

15. What age did you start swimming?
I started swimming at home at about 2 years old, and then joined Seals Swimming Club at 7 years old.

16. What age did you start swimming competitively?

17. How has life changed since going to the Olympics?
I feel slightly more pressure to win, because people look up to me and expect me to win. I feel more respected too, which can be a good thing and an annoying thing. I feel some people are adraid to talk to me, because I am an Olympian, which shouldn't be the case.

18. Do you enjoy the high life of being ‘bugged' for signatures everywhere you go, attending high profile events and the media attention?
I do enjoy it, although I only experience it when I come home to South Africa. It can become tiring though. Having to train as well as market yourself is not easy to do, and you usually find if you don’t balance the two out, your training is going to suffer.

19. If you were not a swimmer, what would you like to be or what would you like to be doing?
I would like to have been a cyclist. Maybe an off road cyclist.

20. Where to after the life of swimming or if you are already retired, what are you up to these days?
Not sure just yet. I want to swim as long as possible. I want my swimming to enable me to choose which career I take up afterwards.

21. Do you have any superstitions or routines before racing?
I don’t have any superstitions, but I do have routines. I usually like to bath quite a lot before competitions; I feel it really gets my muscles loose and relaxed. I make sure I eat good meals on the days leading up to racing. Jungle Oats is something I like to eat as a desert during competitions.

22. If you were a tinkie, what flavour would you want to be?

23. What is your Mom's favourite baby story about you? You know the one that always comes up at dinner functions...
She tells people how she used to run a semi-warm bath for me when I was really young and then leave me to play in it for hours because we didn't have a pool at the house. She says I was always happiest when I was in the water.

24. Did you study at a tertiary level? Where did you study, what did you study and why did you choose to study that?
I study at the University of Arizona in the United States. I am studying sociology

25. Are you a sushi or a cheese burger type of a person?
Both. I really like both the same.

26. What was your proudest moment? Swimming or not.
Receiving MVP for South African u19 team I toured Australia with.

27. What was your funniest Olympic moment?
I can’ single one out because there are too many. I can just remember sitting around with the team and talking about nothing really, and just enjoying listening to their stories.

28. On team tours, were you the life and soul of the tour... the naughty one sitting at the back of the bus or were you the serious dedicated one in the group?
I was usually the serious one. I wasn’t all business though. I was pretty quiet most of the time, but as the tour went on, I would loosen up and talk a bit with the others. I was probably somewhere in between the totally silent ones and the really loud ones.

29. What do you think was your weakest moment during your swimming career? A vulnerable moment when you thought that swimming was not for you and you wanted to give up. How did you deal with that, what advice would you give to people in that situation?
The moment I really didn’t want to swim anymore was after Commonwealth Games in 2006, where I swam really poorly. I then had to go swim the NCAA championships. I again swam very badly, but what made it worse was my coach told me I wasn’t trying and basically that I sucked. To have someone tell you that is the worst thing an athlete can hear.

30. What silly things annoy you? E.g. Drinking thick milkshake through a tiny straw or getting a really hot pie (too hot to eat) when you're starving!
Nicknames can be annoying, especially when the people calling you it are not close friends and know you don’t like being called it. I really get annoyed when I am away from home for the day and I get dirt on my shirt or pants. Just a small spot of dirt on the front of my shirt will really get to me.

31. What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
As a family we used to watch “murder She Wrote” together every week, we would all try figure out who the killer was before the end. At one stage I was really into the whole WWF thing, but grew out of that quickly. One program I enjoyed and still enjoy is Frasier.

32. If you could have a dinner date with anyone, who would it be? Fictitious or real...
I don’t have any desires to have dinner with any famous celebrities. I think just having dinner with someone you like and that likes you is the best company.

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