Floppy-Haired Goofball Commits To UT-Southern

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Courtesy: Tyler Montgomery

Tennessee state qualifier and wannabe fashion icon Cameron Holmes has decided to continue his swimming career at UT-Southern. When you consider that Cameron was able to overcome having me as a coach and mentor for the past seven years and still earn a swimming scholarship, it makes this feat all the more impressive.

Cameron’s swimming career started in the 6th grade at Rockvale Middle School and once he figured out how to keep his goggles on his face for an entire race he actually had some success. As the end of his first swim season approached he was the only boy on the team who hadn’t qualified for the regional championship meet, and he wasn’t particularly close. He would ask me to time him in the 50 free at the end of every practice, but he wasn’t making any progress. Yet somehow at our last meet before regionals the little squirt did it, he made the 50 free cut by .04 seconds. This would be an ongoing theme throughout Cameron’s career: he’ll never give up and he loves to do everything by tenths or hundredths of a second, giving me a Fred Sanford-style heart attack in the process.

At that regional meet, he was dead last on the psych sheet and asked me, “What happens if I don’t make the qualifying time in my race?” The ensuing conversation went something like this:

“You see those double doors over there?”


“And do you see those people wearing white polos and khaki pants?”


“Well, there’s a 100 foot cliff on the other side of those doors and whenever a kid doesn’t make the qualifying time those folks in the white shirts pull them out of the pool and throw them off the cliff.”

I could tell he knew I was probably making this up, but his 11-year-old brain wasn’t completely sure what to think.

Sure enough, he failed to reach the qualifying time in his 50 and shot me a worried look from the pool once he realized it. I pantomimed a person being thrown off of a cliff and shrugged my shoulders. Maybe this wasn’t the best way to get a kid focused before his race, but fortunately, Cameron decided to come back for more emotional abuse in his 7th-grade season.

In his 8th grade season I made him our team captain because I knew he’d be a positive role model for the younger swimmers. When he wasn’t hanging out with his buddies in the locker room showers at meets (I still don’t even want to know what went on in there) he absolutely lived up to those expectations and led our boys to a county championship that season.

Fast forward to his junior season, Cameron was down to his last chance to qualify for the state meet, and he wasn’t particularly close. He had swam a 1:12.41 in the 100 breast just a week earlier and needed to get down to a 1:09.19. Of course my guy made it as stressful as he possibly could, making the cut time by .11 seconds while I clutched my chest and shouted, “It’s the big one, Lamont!”

A few months ago Cameron decided he wanted to make a Dumb and Dumber-style fashion statement at his senior night and asked if I thought he should wear a cheap baby blue tux or a cheap pink tux to the meet. As someone who was once sent home from school in the 12th grade for wearing an Iron Man costume, this brought a tear to my eye. Not only was Cameron following in my footsteps as a swimmer, but now as a legend in the world of fashion as well.

The low point of Cameron’s swimming career came at a birthday party earlier this year when he suffered a humiliating loss in a 25-yard breaststroke race to an out of shape 34 year-old with a receding hairline.

Despite being unable to outswim a man who remembers what a Blockbuster Video store smells like, Cameron went into the Rutherford County championship meet a week later as the #1 seed in the 100 breast, and it wasn’t particularly close. With Cameron having an entry time more than three seconds ahead of the next fastest swimmer I was looking forward to a nice relaxing evening watching him easily win his first individual county championship, but “Heart Attack Cam” had other plans. I might have actually made it home with a clean pair of underwear if Cameron had won the race by half a body-length, but where’s the fun in that? Nope, Cameron had to win the race he was a three-second favorite in by just three tenths of a second while I writhed on the floor shouting, “I’m coming, Elizabeth!”

With his high school career out of the way and his long-time coach out of clean underwear, Cameron started contacting college coaches to see what his options were for swimming at the next level. Even with an email display name of “Zombie41506” (because I assume everything between Zombie1 and Zombie41505 was already taken) he was somehow able to get a college coach to take him seriously enough to offer him a scholarship.

Here are some of Cameron’s top times:

  • 25 breast in embarrassing loss to Coach T – 17.89
  • Injuring himself at practice after neglecting to stretch – 48.52
  • Explaining to the barber how ridiculous he wants his hair to look – 1:58.22

With Cameron, UT-Southern is getting a winner and an amazing teammate. Since middle school he has had the maturity and unselfishness to pass up opportunities at school records and other accolades for the good of the team. There are trophies in the trophy case at both Rockvale Middle and Rockvale High that wouldn’t be there without Cameron’s direct contribution and he’s led the way in establishing a winning culture that will continue at Rockvale after he’s gone.

After seven years of shenanigans, I’m likely going to have to pull a Mr. Feeny and get a job at UT-Southern to keep an eye on “Mr. Holmes”. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be a vice chancellor or an adjunct something or another, I just have to figure out what one of those words means first.


Tyler Montgomery had a four-year swimming career, all with the Riverdale High School Water Warriors in Murfreesboro, TN. He also had the privilege of coaching an amazing group of kids at Rockvale Middle and Rockvale High School between 2017 and 2023. He lives with his family in Murfreesboro and works in the publishing industry to make ends meet after giving up the fame and fortune of being a middle and high school swim coach.





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NE Swimmer
1 month ago

Looks he’ll have another Coach T in college, awesome article!!

Follow my bubbles
1 month ago

Epic! I’m a little disappointed we weren’t provided any corkscrew times which I’m sure was at least one of his notable swims.

Fashion icon
1 month ago

This is the BEST! Congrats and go slay UT-Southern

Jimmy DeSnuts
1 month ago

Whoever says Caeleb Dressel has the best start in the world clearly has not seen that gem of a picture. That’s an elite start if I ever saw one.

1 month ago

Best commitment article ever! Congratulations on your commitment Cameron!!!

1 month ago

Best recruit commitment article. I know it would lose its value if they were always written like this…but can we get like every 10th or so done in this sort of format? 😀

Pretty please?

Old Bruin
1 month ago

What a smart way to get every person on SwimSwam to read about a commitment to UT-Southern! Well done–hilarious and yet completely heartfelt. They must have a great relationship. Only thing missing was a Grady reference.

Old Swim Coach
Reply to  Old Bruin
1 month ago

If you’re gonna reference Grady, you have to include Aunt Esther.

1 month ago

This is amazing. Bravo!!