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?
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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