BALTIMORE, Maryland, April 23. MICHAEL Phelps will not be the only person looking to return to the top of the swimming ladder this week in Mesa, Ariz., at the Arena Grand Prix. Allison Schmitt, who missed out on qualifying for last year’s world championships, is staging a comeback of her own, and she wrote about it for ESPNW.
Schmitt took some time off after last summer’s nationals to finish her studies at the University of Georgia. With a degree in hand, she returned to Baltimore to train with Bob Bowman and his elite squad at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
Schmitt wrote about her journey to this week’s meet on ESPNW. Below are some highlights of her piece, with a link to the full essay to follow.
Everyone may be focused on my training mate Michael Phelps — who will be competing for the first time since the London Olympics in the Mesa Grand Prix starting on Thursday — but I’ve actually been staging my own return to the sport. OK, OK, so Michael was out for two years, while I basically took a break last fall while I finished my last semester at the University of Georgia. And I did swim a couple of times a week to stay in shape.
But it was still pretty rough to go from training twice a week to twice a day, for two hours at a stretch. Luckily, I have an awesome training group in Baltimore who welcomed me back when I moved in December of last year.
And that group includes Michael, who I’m so glad to have back on the pool deck with me. I’ve been training with him on and off since 2006, and just his presence is encouraging for me. If I’m frustrated because of a practice, I can rely on him to help me through it. After all, he’s been through everything I’ve been through, and more.
We have 10 swim practices a week, plus six workouts that alternate between dry land (things like abs and medicine balls) and weights.
For a while, I sounded like a 100-year-old woman complaining about my hips, because a big part of my stroke is my kick, and swimming — when I haven’t used those muscles for a while — makes my hips very sore.
My coaches have been good about reminding me on days when I’m hurting and not swimming as fast as I was the day before that it’s not a regression. It’s progress. I just have to keep focusing on making those milestones in practice.
I’ve had my own whirlwind since London, finishing my degree in psychology and now getting back into swimming. But I’m having fun and I’m definitely tuned in to Rio 2016.
Schmitt is scheduled to swim the 50, 100, 200 and 400 freestyles in Mesa, in addition to the 200 butterfly.