One of those occasions came in the time after the 2008 Summer Olympics, and when it turns out that Jones maybe needed it most.
“We had a long talk,” Jones said, “and she asked me, ‘Do you want to do this anymore? If you do, you have to go 100 percent. You can’t do it halfway,’ which shot me back to when I was 8 years old and she said, ‘We’re going to start swimming, and if you do it, you’re not going to stop in the middle.’”
Jones went start to finish at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, winning the 50-meter freestyle Sunday night to go with his runner-up finish in the 100 free on Friday.
After making the 2008 Summer Olympics with the U.S. 400 freestyle relay team and winning a gold medal, Jones said he is realizing a dream by making the London Games in the two individual events.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said.
Jones’ win in the 50 free came by 0.01 of a second over 31-year-old Anthony Ervin. His time of 21.59 bettered the 21.81 that Jones swam four years ago when he finished third at the U.S. Trials.
“The biggest thing for me was the start,” Jones said. “I’ve never been this calm going into a Trials. In 2008, I was a nervous wreck. My focus was just to implement everything that I have learned in the past four years.”
That includes life lessons as well. Jones said Friday that he got a little comfortable with life as an Olympian after 2008 and probably didn’t train the same.
Along with the shove from mom, Jones, 28, said he got another last summer at the World Championships from some national coaches who remarked about him watching rather than participating with the U.S. relay units in Shanghai.
“They said, ‘We don’t have one of our best 100 freestylers out there, and we’re going to need you next year,’” Jones said. “I heard that from a couple of coaches, and it hit home for me.”
Ervin, who was fastest in both the 50 prelims and semifinals, barely missed getting the win in the finals. But he did touch just ahead of Nathan Adrian, who already is headed to London after winning the 100 freestyle.
Ervin was a little more sedated discussing his race in a press conference after an animated on-deck interview and performance designed to entertain the crowd.
“I touched the wall and then I looked at the scoreboard, but I couldn’t tell what happened,” Ervin said. “I wasn’t sure what happened, and then Nathan looked at me and said, ‘You made it!’ So it was overwhelming relief.”
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