PARKERSBURG - Seeing the glass half full is half the battle for swimmer Tim Phillips.
After failing to earn a berth on the U.S. National Team headed for the Summer Games later this month in London, the 21-year-old from Vienna already is setting his sights on 2016 and Rio de Janeiro.
"Tim is taking this very philosophical and saying there is always the 2016 Olympics," said his father Tom Phillips, who was in attendance at the CenturyLink Center to watch Tim compete at last week's U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb.
Tim Phillips entered last week's meet seeded third in the 100-meter butterfly and advanced into Sunday night's finals where he placed sixth overall in a time of 52.54 seconds. The top two placewinners - Michael Phelps (51.14) and Tyler McGill (51.32) - both earned a spot on the national squad.
"In many respects, Tim was very frustrated he didn't go faster," Tom Phillips continued. "Obviously, he was frustrated he didn't place higher and that he didn't make the team."
Tim Phillips returned Tuesday to his training site with the SwimMAC Carolina program in Charlotte, N.C. Eventually, he will make his way back to Columbus, Ohio, in the fall and continue his education for his junior year at Ohio State University.
In the meantime, Phillips must decide whether to compete in the U.S. Open on Aug. 7-11 in Indianapolis. Whatever he decides, he can fall back on the experience that stamped his presence among the elite swimmers in the country.
In both the preliminary and final heats of the 100 butterfly, Phillips showcased his speed and turned in the fastest times for the first 50 meters, and the second fastest for the semifinal round. In front of a national television audience on championship night, Phillips reached the halfway mark in 23.62 seconds and led the field by 41 hundredths of a second.
However, in the final 15 meters, Phillips dropped back. Phelps, who had slipped to sixth place at the turn, turned in a split of 26.84 over the final 50 meters to capture the victory.
"You could just watch the guys close in on Tim and run him down," Tom Phillips said. "Phelps is always so strong in the back-end of his race. For the last 25 meters, I don't think anybody in the world is better than him."
Minus one or two members, the male portion of the U.S. National Team consists of swimmers who have established themselves professionally following their college careers. When the next Olympic Team Trials occur in 2016, Phillips will still be younger than Phelps is today.
The 27-year-old Phelps most likely will be out of the equation for Rio de Janeiro. Among those who also finished ahead of Phillips are the 24-year-old McGill, along with the 27-year-old Ryan Lochte and 28-year-old Davis Tarwater. Perhaps the only ones standing in Phillips' way could possibly be 20-year-old Tom Shields, who placed fourth. Eugene Godsoe at the age of 24 and Giles Smith at the age of 20 finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
"Four years is a long time, but Tim realizes that after two more years of college that means only two more years before the Olympics," his father added. "He's looking at it philosophically - he is sixth in the United States right now with a chance to improve."