PHOENIX, Arizona, October 10. ON today's edition of The Morning Swim Show Indiana sophomore Steve Schmuhl talks about the great summer he had in the pool, which resulted in a spot on the American team for the short course world championships.
Schmuhl talks about his performances at Olympic Trials, including an 11th-place finish in the 400 IM despite not being fully shaved or tapered. He followed that up with a third-place finish in the event at US Open, which secured his place on the world team. The squad at Indiana University is looking to improve on last season's 10th-place finish at the NCAAs, and he talks about how he personally will work to make that happen. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Jeff Commings: This is the Morning Swim Show for Wednesday October 10th, 2012. I am your host Jeff Commings. On yesterday's show we talked to Ellyn Baumgardner, one of the members of the United States Short Course World Championships team, and today in the FINIS Monitor we will talk to another member of that team. Steve Schmuhl is a sophomore at Indiana University and Steve joins us right now from Bloomington. Steve welcome to the show, how are you today?
Steve Schmuhl: I am good, Jeff. Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Good to have you on, congratulations on making the short course world team. It must be a great feeling right now.
Steve: Thank you. It is.
Jeff: So I asked this of Ellyn Baumgardner yesterday: Were you surprised that you were named to the team or was this expected?
Steve: I was a little surprised. I really didn't know that I was in contention to make it and so when I found out that I made it I was just overwhelmed and it was a really good feeling.
Jeff: So I know a lot of people at the U.S. Open they were looking for, you know, it was kind of like a second-chance meet. Did you kind of view that as a kind of a redemption meet for you after Trials?
Steve: Not really. I just, I kind of used U.S. Open to build on my performances that I had had at Trials and that ended up working out. I swam faster in almost everything at US Open than I did it at Trials.
Jeff: Well you say you swam faster U.S open, why do you think you were able to do that? Were you just a little nervous from Trials or was your preparation is just a little bit different?
Steve: Preparation was definitely different we didn't go all the way down for Olympic Trials and because U.S Open. was our focus on the summer so U.S Open absolutely tapered and able to swim a lot faster.
Jeff: Well it is kind of curious to me. I have heard this from a lot of coaches and swimmers who didn't taper fully for the Olympic Trials. Was the thinking just because okay this time at least, I am not going to make the Olympic teams so you know I am not going to put a lot of focus on it knowing that U.S. Open you are going to have a better shot of making finals and getting some podium finishes?
Steve: I guess that is part of it. I don't know. I kind of just went along with what the coaches told me to do. But I think tapering for U.S. Open, it is later in the summer we had the time to put in more training so I think that was just the more logical one to taper all the way out for.
Jeff: Well you are not the first swimmer to say you just do what your coaches does, so you know you are not in rare company there. So as I said you got on the team based on your third-place finish at the 400 IM at U.S. Open. So now you swim multiple events was why was your 400 IM your best event this summer as opposed to say the 200 Fly or 200 Free?
Steve: I am not really sure. I started training the 400 IM after NC's last year so in March I kind of started switching over and doing our 400 IM group whatever you have here and that is great, great good training partners and I just really excelled in that. I really hadn't been doing the 400 IM in high school. I swam at a local meet we had here in Bloomington, I made Trials and then I swam in that Trials dropped like 5 seconds place really high and then U.S Open came around. I dropped like another 5 or 6 seconds and now on the world championships team.
Jeff: Well the fact that you didn't fully rest for Trials and then got 11th place at Olympic Trials at their 400 IM's probably makes you feel pretty good about the direction that you are 400 IM is going.
Steve: Yeah I was pretty excited about that. I didn't even expect to even ever swim the 400 IM at the Olympic Trials. I thought going into college that I was done with it, that I have never swim it again, but that just I don't know that is not in the plan anymore so–
Jeff: Well as I said you are on the world championship team in this 400 IM. You will be going there with Ryan Lochte, the reigning Olympic Champion. He said he is not doing the 400 IM anymore. Are you going to be kind of looking to him to give you any tips on how to swim this race well at World Championships?
Steve: Yeah, I think I might. It is one of my first international meets, definitely the highest quality meet that I have ever been to, so it would be great to have some advice from someone who has had a lot of experience in that event.
Jeff: Well let's go back to college swimming here. Indiana has been stuck at 10th place at the NCAA's for a couple of years. What is it going to take this year, this season for you guys to break into that single digit placing?
Steve: I know in years past we have struggled at NC's coming back in finals and swimming faster than we did in prelims so we are making big strides, big efforts to do a lot better this year. We have some pretty lofty goals and so everyone is training hard. I think we are going to be a lot higher than 10th this year.
Jeff: And probably helps that you got Eric Ress coming back for you.
Steve: Yeah, he adds a lot to the team. He is a great leader and just a great addition to the team.
Jeff: So will you talk about the fact Indiana has struggled swimming faster in the finals which if I remember correctly you swam faster in your prelims 200 fly at NCAA's than you did in the finals. Is this just kind of mental training that you guys are working on or it just something else?
Steve: For me it is mental. I am not really sure about everyone else though.
Jeff: Well I think that is definitely a lot of — it is a big part of training. I think a lot of colleges miss out on. So as I said you got — you made the consolation final at the NCAA's 200 Fly and finished 14th as a freshman which is still very good, very big accomplishment. What do you think is going to take for you to get into that top 8 this next year?
Steve: I am just training hard, doing whatever that I have been doing that I should be able to make it into the top 8 this year. I am confident that I can do that.
Jeff: Well one more thing before we go. You got a twin brother Tim at Colorado State. He is on the track team there. Did the two of you ever compete in the same sport? Were you ever a runner, was he ever a swimmer?
Steve: We did. We did almost every sport together. He is – I am just not really a land person.
Jeff: And he is not a water person.
Steve: When we both swam when we were like 8 and 9 we were dead even, but then we just kind of, once we got into high school we took like our separate ways. He ran track and I started swimming.
Jeff: Does that kind of help the relationship between the two of you knowing you are not in the same sport now?
Steve: Yeah, I think it does. We are competitive enough that I don't think it would be healthy to be in the same sport.
Jeff: Well it is definitely, you definitely made the right choice to stick with swimming and it is really showing and we are looking forward to seeing how you do this next season in college at Indiana. Steve, thanks so much for joining us and we will see you down the road.
Steve: All right, thanks for having me.
Jeff: All right so that is Steve Schmuhl joining us from Indiana University and that is going to do it for today's edition of the Morning Swim Show as always we invite you to visit us at swimmingworld.com on Facebook or on Twitter to keep in touch with the latest news. I am Jeff Commings thanks for watching.
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