This morning, 2012 Olympic Trials 8th-place finisher Marcus Titus has launched a crowdsourcing fundraiser to support his run to the 2016 Olympic Trials and 2017 DeafLympics. Titus, a former Arizona Wildcat, took a bit of a break from the water, but has decided that he can’t stay away for too long, and is already back and in training.
His campaign has just launched within the last hour, and he’s reaching out to the swimming community to support his efforts. We’ve made the first donation to get him off of the schnide; read his appeal below, and visit his fundraising page here to contribute if you are so moved.
Thank you for taking the time to view my video submission. I cannot express enough how grateful I am for this opportunity and for the support of my two friends who filmed and made this presentation possible. All of this energy and effort is to pursue my goal and dream of representing the USA for the 2016 Rio Olympic Trials and 2017 Turkey Deaflympic Games.
Please allow me a moment to introduce myself. My name is Marcus Titus, born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and discovered to be deaf at the age of three. I was fortunate enough to attend a Deaf institute until the 4th grade and then mainstream into the public school system. It was there that I learned of my passion for swimming – and all thanks to the push of my parents and sister to join an afterschool sports club. From there on it changed my whole life, and now I have been swimming competitively for 12 years.
My dedication to the sport of swimming, regardless of my hearing loss, can be seen through my swimming record: Three times USA National Team; 2008 NCAA Championships; Arizona State University and University of Arizona 100 yard breaststroke record holder; Guadalajara, Mexico Pan American Games; 2011 Deaf World Championships in Portugal; 2008 and 2012 US Olympic Trials.
After the close and devastating loss at the 2012 Olympic Trials, my swimming journey hit a rough patch. It was an emotional and psychological blow, and I thought it was the end of my swimming career. Additionally, it was very emotional for my family, my coaches and friends, and I felt the weight of their disappointment. It was hard to get back into the pool due to the emotional toll.
The moment I realized how much I missed the water and the freedom it gave to me, didn’t strike me until 1 year later. To get back on track, I took a year off from swimming and joined CrossFit to stay in shape. I didn’t touch the water at all and I didn’t want to think about swimming. However, when I coached the swim team for 2013 Deaflympics, the strings were pulled, the wounds were healed and that was when I realized how much I missed the sport. Just watching the swimmers compete gave me the drive and the motivation to get back into swimming. I am now back in the water, gradually improving and regaining my focus of making a comeback for 2016 Rio Olympic Trials and 2017 Turkey Deaflympics.
To make my goals and dreams to come true, I need to devote 100% of my energy and focus on improving my swimming. The caveat to being a Deaf athlete however is there is a huge financial burden that must be shouldered in order to train full time. Not only must I worry about typical living expenses and expenses such as travel, lodging and nutrition, but I must also worry about paying for an interpreter, booking lodging for my interpreter, providing meals, airfare. With financial help, it would allow me to focus on my training without having to worry about how am I going to not just survive day to day, but to pay my way for an interpreter to even help me get to the games and compete.
More importantly, I also want to help and inspire the United States Deaf Swimming Organization and deaf athletes around the world. After the completion of the 2017 Deaflympic Games, I would like to donate the additional funds to the USDS and volunteer my time in coaching and supporting the next generation of young swimmers achieve their goals. I know that with this support, I can help motivate Deaf athletes to pursue their dreams and not be hindered by practical or social concerns.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and watching my video submission. I sincerely appreciate your consideration.