It's one thing to dream about competing in the Olympics, but it's quite another to have people say that some day you could replace Michael Phelps as one of the best in the world.
That's heady stuff for this high school senior, but it's not out of his reach.
"You definitely don't want to swim up and down over there for hours every week without something in the back of your head," Maclin Davis said.
We all need goals. Davis thrives on it in the most grueling event in all of swimming - the butterfly.
"He's kind of a unique individual. He's very explosive, very athletic. He's very focused on speed," said John Morse, head coach of the Nashville Aquatic Club.
And he's a junior world champion, just back from Lima, Peru where he represented the United States in the 50m and 100m fly. And he was the fly leg of the U.S. relay team. The best in the world in his age group.
Is it genetic or God-given? A little of both, he said.
His coach says he still remembers when Maclin started swimming competitively at the Nashville Aquatic Club.
"He was just awful at kicking and awful at underwater, but he was fast on the surface. And you could tell right away that he was going to be something special," Morse said.
"You have got to keep practicing, got to keep in the water a lot and get a good feel for it," Davis said.
And he picked an event that most swimmers avoid, and he began beating them all, capped by his win in Lima.
"It was just amazing how far I've gone in a year," he said.
So now the Olympic trials for 2012 are coming up. He wants to try to get a taste of it, but wants to first toughen up with NCAA competition.
Then, in the 2016 Olympics, look out.
"I don't think it's too much to think about, because our fly, Michael Phelps, he's amazing but he's also getting very old, and by 2016 I don't think he'll be swimming anymore. He'll probably be retired. And that leaves an open field, and I definitely feel I have a pretty good chance at doing that," Davis said.
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