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Swimmer Tyler Clary knows the formula for speed

Nov 21, 2012, 11:12 AM EDT

Tyler Clary Getty Images

Before the London Olympics, U.S. swimmer Tyler Clary told us about his passion for off-road racing and said he was designing a custom buggy for that purpose.

Then he won Olympic gold in the 200m backstroke.

Clary’s life as an Olympic champion has certainly changed, and so have his out-of-the-pool interests: He’s scrapped his buggy plans and is about to start designing a Formula One style car.

We caught up with Clary on the red carpet at USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards Monday night, the organization’s annual gala that celebrates every swimmer in the pool and recognizes the year’s great performances (more coverage here, here and here). Clary relocated from California back to his native Michigan to train after London.

“Since Michigan raceway is so close, I’m actually gonna use the same engine [as his off-road car], completely redesign everything and turn it into an open-wheel car,” Clary said. “I’m actually looking to get involved with the Michigan Formula SAE Team as either a driver or a helping hand.”

Clary said he’d like to be a different type of racer when his swimming career is over.

“Ideally, I want to be road racing on a track and preferably open-wheel,” he said. “If I had my choice I’d be in a Formula One car. I actually got the chance to complete the Skip Barber Racing School about a month ago. One of the corners on the track was taken at 100 miles an hour. That’s frickin’ crazy. It’s amazing what those type of cars can do.”

Apparently one thing is very clear: All Clary wants to do is travel as fast as humanly possible in any way possible.