Marcus Titus - Deaf swimmer demands no special treatment - 2010 Arizona Men's Swimming and Dive

Uploaded by UACrazy on 05.04.2010

The starter's gun.
The crack of the bat.
The roar of the crowd.
The final buzzer.
So much of the excitement of athletics comes from what we hear.
But sounds don't affect Marcus Titus because Marcus is deaf.
Marcus discovered he was deaf when he was three. Eighteen years later
he has become one of the best breaststrokers in the nation. Quite an accomplishment when
you consider he didn't care much for swimming at first. "During my high school year and my
freshman year
my Mom, my parents, encouraged me 'why don't you try swimming?'
so I tried out for like
several weeks
and I like totally
did not want to swim. Totally didn't want to
work out cause its so hard the first time.
But when we had the first swim meet,
it's like, I totally loved the race and that's what kept me going and I was determined to keep going,
training and swimming."
Marcus never considered his deafness as a disadvantage. Quite the opposite.
"I actually use it as an advantage.
It helps to distract from the sound around me and helped me focused better
and using the light is
a great advantage for me."
"He's able to
center himself
and put himself in a position where he's relaxed.
So in that regard it's been a
it's a blessing.
Marcus has
figured out how to do things in a way in which, um...
his handicap has allowed."
Like the start of a race for example.
While all other swimmers listened for the starting horn off the blocks, Marcus has to take a different approach.
"I watch the...
the referee.
He shows me a hand signal which I have to be on the block.
Then he'll do another signal where I have to get ready to set on the block.
and by that time I'm looking at the light on either on front of my block or on the side
and I know I'm ready to go."
When the race starts, many athletes
feed off the audible frenzy of the crowd and their teammates.
Marcus has to depend on his other senses to soak up the moment.
"Just by looking at the crowd
just looking at the size of the crowd really gets me going
and I can, and I can feel them cheering
and that really
is me going."
Marcus just helped Arizona place third at last week's NCAA championships.
There's some irony there because the U of A wasn't sold on Marcus when he graduated from
Tucson's Flowing Wells High School.
They didn't offer him a scholarship. So he went to ASU instead.
"Big mistake on our part.
You think sometimes recuiting is an exact science. But anyway...
To his credit Marcus went to ASU and swam very fast.
For whatever reason
he didn't feel comfortable there
so he decided to change schools and we welcome him with open arms."
"At first I was disappointed
but I'm happy that I was able to come back
and have the opportunity to join the U of A team and
it was the best thing that ever happened to me."
His transfer to the U of A has worked out very well for him.
One of the problems for Marcus at ASU was that the coaches there wouldn't employ
a sign interpreter for him.
"Fortunately for Marcus we, we have signing people on deck all the time which has been
great for him
and it also shows the U of A's commitment to someone like that. Which is, I think, is very important."
Marcus' ability to succeed,
despite his deafness, has earned the admiration of his teammates.
"They look at Marcus as someone that is committed to what he's doing.
Great teammate. Someone who's really involved with everyone else and what they're doing
and he's just he's the kind of person that
you want on your team.
You want that type of person that
shares himself as much as he can and opens itself up to others
and they respect that, and they respect him."
"I want to give my stories to
deaf students. Deaf athletes.
I want to be able to help inspire them.
Encourage them
to join any kind of sports.
also want to help grow...
Especially the Deaf Olympics.
I want to help grow that community.
Those are my goals."
And speaking of the Olympics
Marcus intends to train hard for a shot at the London Olympics two thousand twelve.