By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Friday, December 2, 2016
Cammile Adams almost didn’t make her second Olympic team.
During her morning prelim swim of the 200 butterfly at the 2016 Olympic Trials, she was initially disqualified. For a few tense moments, it looked as if her dream of swimming again (she competed at the 2012 Olympics) in Rio was finished.
But after an appeal from her coach and a closer inspection, it was determined she swam her stroke correctly and was reinstated.
As explained by her coach David Marsh, deck officials originally thought Adams came off the wall on her back (following her turn), but underwater cameras confirmed it was her toes on the wall, and she was fully on her side moving toward her stomach.
Thank goodness for technology.
“Obviously, it was quite emotional for me, my coaches, my teammates and family,” she said of the disqualification. “I think this sport is meant to teach us so much more than just how to swim and how to be competitive.
“I think in the toughest of situations, our true colors show, and I felt like I handled that situation very well and was able to learn and grow from it and hopefully inspire others as well.”
Adams went on to win in the semifinals and finals to make the team headed to South America. In Rio, she finished fourth – just off the medal podium but improving a spot from four years earlier in London.
And while she said she had higher expectations largely because of her silver-medal swim the previous summer at FINA World Championships, Adams said she took things in stride – keeping everything in perspective and always learning something in the process.
“It was a completely different experience (from 2012) for so many reasons,” she said. “Starting with moving away from home in January of 2015 to getting DQ’d at Trials to barely making the final. It was a really emotional journey, but one I wouldn’t trade for any color medal.
“I truly have learned so much about myself and who I am as a swimmer but also who I want to be as a person. Obviously not medaling is tough, but at the same time, I have been given an opportunity that few are even able to dream out, so I consider myself humbly blessed.”
Since the conclusion of the Games, Adams’ focus has been anywhere but in the pool.
She and husband, Rad (yes, no B), celebrated their marriage October 15 after a two-year engagement.
Calling it the “best day of her life,” Adams and her new hubby enjoyed a wedding and reception that included many swimming friends and family. With such a heavy concentration on and time commitment to swimming, Adams said she planned the whole wedding in about a month during the fall of 2015.
She met Rad through mutual friends during her time attending and competing at Texas A&M, and said she knew from their second date that she was going to spend the rest of her life with him.
“His name pretty much describes him perfectly, as lame as that sounds,” she said. “He is truly the most genuine and humble person I’ve ever met. He works for Just Energy in Houston. He swam a little bit in high school but is more into triathlons. He’s done an Ironman. So we have the sport and competitive side in common.”
And now that she’s taking a break from competitive swimming (she’s not prepared to decide what she wants to do next as far as her future in the sport is concerned), Adams recently completed 12 weeks as a student teacher at Copeland Elementary in Houston.
She was in a fifth grade classroom, and she loved it. An education major at Texas A&M, she’s certified to teach fourth through eighth grade ELAR – reading and language arts – as well as social studies.
She found her life’s calling for whenever the day comes for her to hang up her goggles and retire – and she owes much of that passion from her father’s example.
“I definitely will teach full time as soon as swimming is over,” she said. “I’ve always been fascinated with children and their interactions with each other. I love studying how children learn best and what keeps them motivated in the classroom.
“I think my love for teaching specifically comes from my Dad. He’s been a teacher forever and just always knew that it was something I wanted to do as well. My twin sister (Ashley) is also teaching right now. She teaches seventh grade writing at a school in Dallas.”
No matter how much longer Adams’ continues to compete, she said when she looks back over her career, she holds so many fond memories of trips, cities, friends, swims, competitors, etc.
And while her experience this summer in Rio was quite different than four years ago in London when she was star struck and completely honored to be surrounded by so many big names, so many of her heroes.
This time around, four years older, wiser and more experienced, she was able to act as a mentor to some of the younger athletes – using her natural teacher inclination to help others as she was helped as a young swimmer.
“I’ve only been making National Team trips for the past 5 years, so it’s crazy to think that I could mentor someone else,” she said. “But the team was so young and to be honest, I learned probably more from them than they did from me.
“I know post swimming, whenever that comes, I will definitely still be involved in the sport as much as I can. If that is through clinics or helping out the national team, I just feel that USA Swimming has helped me accomplish so many of my dreams, and I want to do everything I can to continue helping out.”