Swimming World Presents – Allison Schmitt: Still Swimming Strong

Swimming World November 2020 Cover - Allison Schmitt - with Michael and Nicole Phelps 2015
Schmitt, right, with Michael Phelps and his wife Nicole, 2015. [Photo by Annie Grevers]

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Allison Schmitt:

Still Swimming Strong

By Dan D’Addona

Allison Schmitt still has big goals and plenty to prove. Her desire to help others has kept the eight-time
Olympic medalist involved in mental health advocacy. Being a strong role model has kept her looking out for younger swimmers. And goals not yet achieved in the pool have kept her striving to do her best in practice and make a fourth Olympic team.

Throughout Allison Schmitt’s illustrious swimming career, the three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist has experienced success and has dealt with her share of struggles. Now 30, she remains goal-oriented and continues to be one of the world’s elite athletes, trying to prove to herself that she can still reach her goals in the sport and make a fourth Olympic team.

“Any time you get to represent the U.S. is a complete honor,” said Schmitt, the 2012 Olympic champion in the 200 free. “I don’t know if I can ever really put that into words—how special it is to represent our country. It is such an incredible feeling to represent those closest to you and a flag of your country. “It would be a complete honor to represent the U.S. at the highest level of our sport again.”

Of course, it is still a long road ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing the Olympics to 2021.

But Schmitt, like swimmers around the world, are fighting through it and trying to make the best of it, no matter how difficult the pandemic has been at times.

“I can’t say it was easy—a lot of down times and a lot of tears. I am super grateful to have the support that I have had through those closest to me. I wouldn’t have made it through this thing in one piece without them,” said Schmitt. “I think that everyone is going through it in their own way, not just athletes. Working from home, school from home, losing a job. Everyone is going through something. We just have to be kind to each other.”

HELPING HERSELF AND OTHERS
The pandemic has caused big life changes for many people, many of whom have been essentially cooped up at home for months. That takes a huge toll, especially mentally.

Schmitt has been very public with her own mental health struggles, and has been working as a counselor at Arizona State, where she currently trains with Bob Bowman, to help others struggling with mental health issues.

“The biggest thing is for people to understand it is OK to reach out and ask for help. It is not the easiest thing,” she said. “It is a cycle with ups and downs. I feel like it just keeps going around and around.” Schmitt said the most difficult part of her own fight was simply admitting that she needed help, something not so simple.

Being outspoken about her own journey has impacted many, which is the reason Schmitt decided to open up publicly in the first place. “It is definitely the goal, helping others. That is a passion and why I speak out about it,” she said. “I understand how easy it is to get into your own head and feel like you are going through it alone. But I have realized that people care.

Schmitt also wanted to show the world that world-class athletes are still human and have the same struggles that others face on a daily basis. “People look at athletes or celebrities as super human, and I think that people speaking out about the normalcy of their lives and relating it to themselves makes everyone more human and hopefully inspires people that they can do it,” she said. “We are all in this together.”

It is a simple, but meaningful mantra—something she learned as a young swimmer when Michael Phelps took Schmitt under his wing, something she is trying to do now for others in the sport.

“I have been through a lot within the sport and outside the sport. I hope speaking out has humanized me,” Schmitt said. “Ever since I started training with Bob’s (Bowman) group in high school in 2006, at 16, Michael took me under his wing right away. Throughout the years that we have swum together, he was always the big brother to me, showing me the way.

“He showed that he believed in me—the greatest Olympian of all time believed in me! I never looked at him like that, but just as a relatable person. That really helped me get through those times and get to the highest level. It’s all about being there for the younger swimmers to help them or show them the ropes.”

 

To read more about Allison Schmitt’s efforts in the pool and within the swimming community,
check out the November 2020 issue of
Swimming World Magazine.
Click here to download now!

Swimming World November 2020 Cover - Allison Schmitt - A Legacy Much More Than Gold Medals[PHOTO CREDIT: CONNOR TRIMBLE]

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Swimming World Magazine November 2020 Issue

FEATURES

010 OPEN WATER SWIMMERS OF THE DECADE (2010-19)
by Andy Ross
Since the COVID-19 pandemic prevented Swimming World from naming Open Water Swimmers of the Year for 2020, the magazine, instead, takes a look at the top marathon athletes over the last 10 years.

015 HIGHLIGHTING ISHOF’S 1980 OLYMPIC EXHIBIT
by Bruce Wigo
As we mark the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Olympic Games, much has been written and discussed about the impact on the athletes who were denied the opportunity to compete in Moscow. Lost in most of these discussions is the significance of the boycott to the Olympic movement, which is why, in 2014, the International Swimming Hall of Fame made it the subject of one of the largest permanent exhibits in its museum.

018 OLYMPIC HISTORY WITHIN REACH
by David Rieder
Despite the global pandemic, the Olympic postponement and a coaching change, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri put together some of the best swimming of his career last summer in the 800 and 1500 meter freestyle as well as the 10K marathon. Come Tokyo 2021, he’ll be trying to become the first swimmer ever to capture Olympic gold in both the pool and open water events.

021 STILL SWIMMING STRONG
by Dan D’Addona
Throughout Allison Schmitt’s illustrious swimming career, the three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist has experienced success and has dealt with her share of struggles. Now 30, she remains goal-oriented and continues to be one of the world’s elite athletes.

026 THE TRUE OLYMPIC SPIRIT
by John Lohn
Pierre de Coubertin developed the Olympic motto that stressed athletic prowess, but he also said, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part.” That description fit Eric the Eel Moussambani perfectly when he swam all by himself in Heat 1 of the men’s 100 meter freestyle at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and finished in slightly less than two minutes!

COACHING

012 TOUGHEST WORKOUTS (Part 1)
by Michael J. Stott
Here’s a painful—but productive—sampling from yesteryear of some coaches’ toughest workouts ever.

036 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: DEVELOPMENT OF AN OPTIMAL MODEL FOR TECHNIQUE: PART IX—BODY BASE OF SUPPORT FOR BACKSTROKE
by Rod Havriluk
An optimal backstroke body base of support (BOS) depends on first mastering a level torso and then mastering torso rotation. An optimal BOS facilitates the arm motion to maximize propulsion.

038 SPECIAL SETS: A REALLY SPECIAL SET
by Michael J. Stott
Nov. 21, 1975: Mike Bruner’s 100 x 100 on 1:00!

042 Q&A WITH COACH LORI RIEGLER
by Michael J. Stott

043 HOW THEY TRAIN JACK ALEXY AND MEREDITH RIEGLER
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

035 DRYSIDE TRAINING: LET’S RACE
by J.R. Rosania
With COVID-19 being managed somewhat and new protocols being put in place, racing is slowly coming back. Here are some exercises that will help get your body ready to race.

JUNIOR SWIMMER

046 UP & COMERS: ALANA BERLIN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

014 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT HYDROMANIA?

029 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

045 THE OFFICIAL WORD

047 GUTTERTALK

049 PARTING SHOT

Swimming World is now partnered with the International Swimming Hall of Fame. To find out more, visit us at ishof.org

3 comments

  1. Peter Scott

    Good to see Allison still going strong after all these years!😊😊 Good luck to her😊

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