Schmitt gearing up for Olympics with Phelps in Indianapolis

It was a swimmer’s version of a busman’s holiday: During some rare time off last week from her intense training at Baltimore’s Meadowbrook pool, Allison Schmitt decided to visit ... the National Aquarium.

“When I saw the dolphins,” Schmitt said with a laugh Thursday, “I wanted to jump in.”

Such is the single-minded focus of swimmers such as Schmitt, a bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics, and among those competing here this week in the Indianapolis Grand Prix. It’s among the final tune-ups before the qualifying trials in June for the London games in July.

Schmitt is signed up for six races here, and will swim in the finals Thursday night of the women’s 100- and 400-meter freestyle events.

Originally from Canton, Mich., the 21-year-old Schmitt moved to Baltimore to train with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, most famously the home of Michael Phelps and his longtime coach Bob Bowman. But if she’s a newcomer to Baltimore, she’s no stranger to her teammate and coach – she prepped for the 2008 Olympics with them at Michigan’s Club Wolverine.

Phelps has become a mentor and friend, saying her relentlessly upbeat personality makes their endless drills fun.

“I like to laugh a lot. I guess I just like having fun,” Schmitt said after swimming well in two preliminary heats Thursday morning. “With this kind of sport and the tedious work you have to get in, you just have to laugh. There’s not much else you can do.

“I can always count on him to be there. I can always call him up, and if he sees something I can do better, he’ll tell me."

Schmitt redshirted at the University of Georgia to focus on training for the Olympics this summer. The pace of her rise in the sport seems dizzying to her.

“I can remember when I was in high school, coming in seventh and eighth at our state meet,” she said.

“I’m just taking it day by day. It’s going so fast, and now Michael’s retiring,” Schmitt said of her teammate, who plans to exit competitive swimming after the London games. “He’s put so much into the sport. He’s worked so hard for two decades. He’s accomplished so much. I’m excited to see what he does this summer.”

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad