Deaf swimmer wins battle for hand signals at Olympic trials

COLUMBUS OH - DECEMBER 03: Marcus Titus competes in the Men's 100 yard Breaststroke heats on day two of the AT&T Short Course National Championships at McCorkle Aquatic Pavillion on December 3 2010 in Columbus Ohio. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Former Arizona swimmer Marcus Titus made a huge move in forcing the hand of USA Swimming to allow him to receive hand signals in the upcoming Olympic trials.

Titus, who is deaf, received word on Thursday that after initially being denied the ability for him to receive hand signals to start his races -- in other words, taking away the ability for him to get the "set, go" -- the USA team changed its mind, according to The Washington Post.

One of the best breaststrokers in the nation, the former Wildcat only needed 48 hours to change the minds of the swimming federation, who wanted to disallow hand signals because the international governing body, FINA, doesn't have rules regarding them; they wanted the Olympic trials to be run just like an Olympic meet.

Much of their change in decision is thanks to Titus' Facebook group, which as of Thursday night ballooned to over 1,100 "Likes."

But Titus had a friend in former long-time Arizona head coach Frank Busch, who this past season moved took over as the national team's director.

"What we thought was the right thing to do here was the wrong thing," Busch told the Post. "It was an oversight. As soon as he said something, we got it corrected."

It's somewhat fitting that a step forward in catering to disabled athletes comes thanks to two Wildcats from a school that's one of the more progressive in the nation to disabled students.

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