SANTA CLARA — Scott Weltz of San Jose left a training room with ice bags wrapped around each elbow before competing at the Santa Clara Arena Grand Prix swim meet.

It's not the way he hoped this summer would go.

"It seems I've been falling apart after London almost," said Weltz, a Bellarmine Prep swimmer who finished fifth in the 200-meters breaststroke at the 2012 Olympics.

Weltz, 26, enjoyed a magical summer last year after stunning Olympic veterans Brandon Hanson and Eric Shanteau to make the U.S. Olympic team.

Weltz represented the underdog story of the Olympics. He trained with the UC Davis' women's team instead of joining one of the elite post-graduate programs at Cal, Michigan or Texas. Weltz worked alone with Davis coach Pete Motekaitis, who grew up in Campbell.

"I didn't think Weltz had it in him," Hansen said after the upset at the U.S. Olympic trials. "He swam like a big-time swimmer."

Now Weltz wonders if his body can hold out for four years until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"At this rate I can't go four more weeks," he said before posting one of his best times since London by finishing second in the B final of the 200 breaststroke.

Weltz is scheduled to compete in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley Sunday at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on the meet's final day.

Icing the elbows, it turns out, is the least of his concern. Last week, Weltz learned he is suffering from hypothyroidism, a condition that has left him listless.


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"He told me, 'I have no energy, I can't get through my practices,' " his mother Rhonda Weltz said Saturday.

In high school Weltz suffered from Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. The current condition has made it difficult for Weltz to fight off colds.

Then there are the mechanical issues from practicing the breaststroke.

"You put such pressure and weird movements with breaststroke," Weltz said.

The constant kicking has led to groin strains. When Weltz backs off from kicking to focus on upper body strength the elbows flare up.

He took 10th in the 200 breaststroke at the indoor World Championships in December. Weltz' biggest goal is qualifying for his first outdoor World Championships this summer in Barcelona, Spain.

He hopes mediation for hypothyroidism takes effect in time to allow for better training over the next month. The U.S. nationals at the end of June serve as the qualifying meet for the world championships.

He doesn't know if his body will be up to the challenge.

"It's all about muscle memory," Weltz said.

If the body won't cooperate he won't force it. Weltz plans to enroll in a master's program at UC Davis and eventually teach high school math.

"If I get older and keep falling apart I'm not going to try to hold onto something that's not there," he said.

But Weltz' love of swimming hasn't diminished so he'll do what he can to continue.

"Scott will never give up," his mom said.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.