Tulane athlete Danielle Titus competes in 2020 Olympic Games

olympic swimming

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Maiya Tate, Senior Staff Reporter

In past years, Olympic seasons have been filled with all kinds of difficulties. However, these past Summer Olympics potentially faced more than any other. Even so, one of Tulane University’s very own athletes, Danielle Titus, competed on the Olympic team for her home country, Barbados. Titus represented both her country and university while winning sixth place in the 100m backstroke competition.

Courtesy of Tulane Athletics

Titus began swimming at age three, taking up the sport because of her older sister and her parents. Even though she started swimming at an early age, she figured out she wanted to go to the Olympics when she was seven or eight years old. 

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics,” Titus said. “But my real goal is to actually medal, so that’s the plan for 2024. This is the beginning of it.” Titus not only landed in the top 10 swimmers in her event at the games but was also chosen with her teammate Alex Sobers as a flag bearer for the Olympic opening ceremonies.

Leah Stancil, head coach of Tulane’s swimming and diving team, recruited Titus in high school. Stancil was an assistant coach at three different universities before coming to Tulane. Titus came onto Stancil’s radar at her previous job at the University of Florida. “I was aware of her talent from when she was younger,” Stancil said. “I had been watching her progress. So once she became of age that I could recruit her, I started recruiting her officially.”

While grateful to have had the opportunity to go to the games this season despite scheduling complications, Titus remained aware of controversies surrounding her sport. When talking about the banning of swim caps made specifically for “thicker, curlier hair textures to provide a better fit and protect hair from chlorine,” Titus expressed her disappointment in the decision. “Honestly, I was very disappointed … it’s not even a choice; this is just some people’s hair.” 

Despite all of the complications this year, Titus is very determined to return to the games in 2024. Titus and her coach plan to improve Titus’ time and her underwaters, which focuses on butterfly kicks and breathing beneath the water. According to Stancil, if a swimmer is good at underwaters, “they’re more than likely moving faster under the water than they are while they’re swimming.” Stancil said she and Titus will be working on techniques related to her stroke and the strategy of how to swim in the race. They will practice these methods at various meets and competitions for the next few years leading up to the 2024 Olympic games. 

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