PHOENIX, Arizona, October 26. OLYMPIC champion Allison Schmitt is back on campus at the University of Georgia, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show, she talks about making the transition from Olympic focus to college classes.
Schmitt says that after the Olympics, she didn't take much of a break, returning to Athens, Ga., for classes, and getting back into the pool shortly thereafter. Her return to Georgia has been rough, as she has had to get acquainted to the freshman and sophomore classes, teammates she had not yet met. She also did not take classes during her time in Baltimore, so she's also re-adjusting to the class schedule. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Tiffany Elias: This is The Morning Swim Show for Friday, October 26th, 2012. I'm your host, Tiffany Elias. Our guest in the FINIS monitor has made her way back to the Georgia campus after taking a year off to train in Baltimore for the Olympics. It sure paid off with five medals, and now Allison Schmitt is back to compete for her fourth season with the Bulldogs and fight for that final national title. Joining us from Athens, Georgia — Allison welcome to the show.
Allison Schmitt: Hi, thank you.
Tiffany Elias: So how does it feel to be back on campus?
Allison Schmitt: It's nice, it's nice to get back in my routine. It's definitely different than when I left but it's still a lot of fun and getting back into the college atmosphere.
Tiffany Elias: So besides the super hard training out in Baltimore, what exactly did you do for your year off? Anything else besides train hard?
Allison Schmitt: Training both inside and outside the pool, my weight training with Keenan helped a lot. I got a lot stronger, I started without doing any pull-ups and I was doing quite a few pull-ups by the end right before the Olympics so that definitely helped and even working on my nutrition a little bit.
Tiffany Elias: How many pull-ups were you able to get up to?
Allison Schmitt: I think I got up to three times eight.
Tiffany Elias: Wow that is really good. So do you think your strength improvement came from things that you started doing outside of the water?
Allison Schmitt: Yes, I mean you can only get so much strength in the water and working outside the water with Keenan both doing dry land and doing weights, that helped me a lot I feel like.
Tiffany Elias: Well that is huge. I know how hard pull-ups are for girls, that's really good. So were you taking any online classes while you were out of school?
Allison Schmitt: No, last year I was strictly focusing on swimming and with travel in both Colorado, we went to the World Cup in Berlin in Moscow so I was kind of travelling a lot and didn't really do any school.
Tiffany Elias: Wow so you are keeping busy. What did you miss most about being in school and back in Georgia?
Allison Schmitt: My friends, the teammates I have here, the friends I have here. This picking up and leaving for a year, leaving your friends that you've had for the past three years that was the hardest thing.
Tiffany Elias: All right, so now that you're back on campus how has the transition been from training for the Olympics, now going back into the college season, you already have a dual meet under your belt, how has that transition been going for you?
Allison Schmitt: It's different than I thought. It's been a little tough for me getting back in. I had definitely set my new goals for this year and I have a lot of team goals that I want to accomplish and so I've gotten back in and having a team there has definitely helped me get back in the water.
Tiffany Elias: Can you let us in on some of those goals that you set for yourself?
Allison Schmitt: I mean we definitely have goals for the season both individually and for our team so we're just – right now we're training hard and we're doing a dual meet, having fun at our dual meets, and getting ready for our taper meet in December and then again for SECs and NCAAs.
Tiffany Elias: So personally what expectations do you have for yourself early on in this season? Did you get to take a little bit of a break after London?
Allison Schmitt: I had a little bit of a break, I came back to school right away though, we started school right away so I jumped back into school and swimming. It was a little tough for me at first and I'm back into swimming and everything and I'm excited.
Tiffany Elias: So will you be shooting for any particular times in season or trying to just relax and have fun and then set most of the focus on your taper meet?
Allison Schmitt: I think for me the biggest thing is having fun and as long as I'm having fun I can swim fast so I'll just keep working hard, having fun. Being with a team is definitely a lot of fun especially coming back and not knowing basically half the team, not knowing the incoming freshmen and the sophomores, never been on the team with them. It's a great team, new faces, fresh faces in Georgia Bulldogs.
Tiffany Elias: Yes, that is being out of your – now you have almost two new classes that you have to get to know. All right, so let's just touch on the Olympics here quite a bit. Unbelievable job walking away with five medals, in particular let's start off with that 200 freestyle. It's not common to be able to watch someone completely dominate an event and obviously the goal is to take gold but after looking at what you did, almost beating the field by two seconds, what were your thoughts on that performance?
Allison Schmitt: I definitely have to give credit to Bob, Keenan, and Michael. Before I swam, Bob and Michael came out to me and said “Your legs are a lot stronger than they were in the past and you just have to stay off them the first 50” and that's exactly what I did, I was able to bring it home a lot faster and I definitely took it out with easy speed which I've never had before and I felt good all the way through so I just kept going.
Tiffany Elias: Well that 1:53 was an American record. Now your teammate, Megan Romano, she has the American record in the short course 200 freestyle. Are we going to see a battle for the new American record here between teammates at NCAAs?
Allison Schmitt: Let's hope. She's a great friend and she's fun to face against so she did amazing last year at NCs and I was able to watch on my computer and I was actually screaming, I heard through my computer last year so it was definitely great and I'm excited for this year to compete with her and be on relays with her.
Tiffany Elias: Yes, a lot of depth in that event for Georgia, always does a great job in the freestyle events. So looking back over London what was your most memorable experience? That's a tough question but if you had to pick one what was your defining moment?
Allison Schmitt: Dang, this is kind of hard. Probably – this is tough.
Tiffany Elias: I know, it's hard, and especially because you probably have so many to choose from.
Allison Schmitt: Yes. I have two that pop out at me. Well I guess I'll say after 200 free not only it's being on the awards stadium, the podium, and looking up, seeing my teammates to the left, seeing my family to the right up in the stands, it was definitely – Coach Troy came up to me afterwards and said “Do I need to pinch you?” so it definitely was a moment that I'll never forget and walking back, getting ready to cool down afterwards, seeing Bob and seeing my team, Keenan and all of them, it just -knowing that we've all had so many goals throughout the season and we were accomplishing them at that meet it was definitely a race that I'll never forget and the emotions afterwards is something that will stick with me forever.
Tiffany Elias: Definitely. Well that's a good memory to have. Now who is one person that just really made your London experience you couldn't have imagines it without them? One of your teammates, whether on the girls' side or the guys' side, who is that one person that you really want to thank for being there with you?
Allison Schmitt: It was a great team and I think we all got along really well, it was a great atmosphere to be in and I think the whole team was really strong and really close this time around so it was definitely fun all around and my roommate, Elizabeth Beisel, we always had fun and we're probably the two loudest girls on the team so we definitely always were having fun, always joking around, always laughing and that definitely helped to keep things loose and even before we swam we were singing and dancing around and joking around so I think we both kept each other excited and ready to race.
Tiffany Elias: Yes, definitely good to do that. So with all the pressure that was building up to London are you relieved that it's over and you can now focus back on college?
Allison Schmitt: Yes, it was an experience and I don't think I had too much pressure leading up to it. I think I had more personal goals for myself rather than goals from the outside world and pressure from the outside world so I definitely exceeded my expectations and coming back down from that and getting ready for this college season and jumping right into it it's a different experience but I'm just as excited.
Tiffany Elias: So after your final season with the Bulldogs will you be heading back to Baltimore to keep training?
Allison Schmitt: I think so. I have school to finish and then I think I'll head back to Baltimore and I don't know, I don't have plans yet, but definitely looking towards Baltimore.
Tiffany Elias: All right. Well as a Morning Swim Show tradition we can't end without hearing a joke from Allison Schmitt so on the spot here again do you have a joke to share with us?
Allison Schmitt: Yes, this is on the spot.
Tiffany Elias: I'm sure you've got something in there.
Allison Schmitt: I can do my favorite one.
Tiffany Elias: Okay, perfect.
Allison Schmitt: Knock knock?
Tiffany Elias: Who's there?
Allison Schmitt: Interrupting cow.
Tiffany Elias: Interrupting cow who–
Allison Schmitt: Mooo. That's my favorite one.
Tiffany Elias: I don't know that that will ever get old.
Allison Schmitt: Definitely not in my books.
Tiffany Elias: No. All right. Well next time I'll prepare you to tell something new just in case but I'm sure that will always be a good one.
Allison Schmitt: Thank you.
Tiffany Elias: All right, thanks Allison, we will see you at NCAAs and good luck this season.
Allison Schmitt: Thank you.
Tiffany Elias: Thank you.
Allison Schmitt: Bye.
Tiffany Elias: That is Allison Schmitt in the FINIS monitor. That will conclude today's Morning Swim Show. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all the latest news. I'm your host, Tiffany Elias, thanks for watching.
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