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Q&A with Arizona senior swimmer Brooks Fail

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Madeleine Viceconte | The Daily Wildcat

Brooks Fail is a swimmer from Tucson, Ariz. 

Fail’s best event is 500 yard freestyle and he has the fastest time on the team with four minutes 11.84 seconds. 

The Daily Wildcat recently spoke with senior swimmer Brooks Fail via Zoom in an interview. Fail finished his senior year at the National Championships on March 24-27, where he had two top-five finishes and three All-American honors. 

Daily Wildcat: What was it like growing up in Tucson?

Brooks Fail: It is very nice here. I have been welcomed by warm weather ever since I was born. I have enjoyed my time in Tucson as a kid all the way up to being a college student. Tucson is a great place to swim because it is hot all year round and you will do anything to beat the heat. 

DW: Do you remember what age it was you began to swim? 

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BF: I joined a summer swim league when I was four years old. All the kids would swim one lap the entire length of the pool. It was not that difficult, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I think that is what got me started.

DW: When was it you decided that swimming was something that you wanted to professionally pursue?

BF: It was my freshman year of high school when I fell in love with the whole aspect of the sport. You control your own success. It is not dictated by a team. You take full ownership for how well you want to perform and the work that you want to put in. That is something that I was really attracted to. 

DW: After high school, which schools did you receive offers from?

BF: I was recruited across the nation. The schools I narrowed it down to were Arizona, Indiana, Texas and South Carolina. 

DW: After being recruited by many of the top schools in the country, what made you choose Arizona?

BF: It has always been my dream ever since I would come to UA swim meets as a young kid. Seeing all the success the program had in the late 2000s, I was always attracted to the Arizona swimming and diving program. Swimming is not a sport where many people pay attention, but Arizona swimming is a staple in the world of swimming. It was something I really wanted to be a part of. 

DW: Do you remember your first practice your freshman year at Arizona?

BF: I was nervous; I am not going to lie. I did not know what to expect. We had a coaching change right before my freshman year and the people I was recruited by were all gone. Ever since the first day [head coach Augie Busch] made it known [he supports] the team over self-motto and everyone has bought into that. What [Busch] has done here in such a short time as head coach made me feel very comfortable off the bat. 

DW: How would you sum up your freshman year?

BF: It was a development year. I swam personal bests in all my races throughout the year, but I was learning a lot about the college system. I was also taking care of myself now that I was living away from my parents. I learned a lot and every season I try to learn more about myself and the sport. 

DW: After your freshman year, what would you say was that defining moment that put your name on the map?

BF: We had an invitational my sophomore year, and that was when I arrived onto the scene. I dropped five seconds off my [best] 500-meter finish. I finished at 4:11, and that was one of the fastest finishes [in the nation] at the time. I finished third in the 500-meters at the NCAA National Championships. That is when I realized what I could go on to achieve in my last few years as a Wildcat. 

DW: Do you have a favorite event at competitions? 

BF: The 500-meters is an event that I have learned a lot about myself through. That has been the best part of my experience here at Arizona. It is a race where so much strategy is involved. I try to swim in any event that I can. I don’t want to label myself as [a one event] type swimmer, and I want to improve in all areas of my swimming. 

DW: How would you sum up your performance at this year’s NCAA tournament?

BF: The meet went well. I got back what I felt I missed out on last season because of the cancellation of the NCAA [tournament.] I was really bummed when that happened because I felt that I was ready to break the ice and arrive back on the scene. That is what I accomplished this year and it is exciting because I know there is still room for improvement.

DW: What is it that makes the men’s swim team unique? 

BF: It is the brotherhood that we share with one another. I get to hang out with my best friends for 20 hours a week at the pool. A lot of people might see college athletics as a daunting experience where you are just constantly training. I have grown to have a lot of fun with it. Every member of the men’s team can say it with their chest that the 20 hours we get to spend together is [their] favorite time of the week. I think that is very rare to find that in other programs. 

DW: Since you will be returning next year, is there anything you want to accomplish in your final year as a Wildcat? 

BF: I want to start in the summer by going to Olympic trials and make a [name] for Arizona. Whatever I accomplish there, I want everyone to know that people in Arizona are trying to accomplish these great things in sports. For the college season, I want to focus on bettering my times and doing anything I can for this team. 


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Updated September 22, 2021