Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte.
All three names have dominated the swimming headlines and coverage this Olympic Games. Twitter blows up every time one of these superstars sets foot in the Aquatic Center in London.
Fellow American swimmer, Allison Schmitt loves the attention that those three stars bring to her sport. They take pressure off her, and it has shown in London. She is having one of the best Olympic Games out of any of the American swimmers.
Schmitt arrived in London as a 22-year-old swimmer who is competing in her second Olympic Games. She did not win an individual medal in Beijing and came into London as a swimmer flying under the radar.
But now that has all changed. After last night, Schmitt has won three medals in the last four nights of competition. To cap things off Schmitt set the pool on fire, in her 200-meter freestyle event setting an Olympic record time of 1 minute, 53.61 seconds.
In an event that saw Missy Franklin fade and finish off the podium Schmitt raced an unbelievable race.
She is only swimming in four events in London, which could be another reason that she has not grabbed as many headlines as others who swim in seven or eight events. But she has a legitimate chance to medal in every event that she participates in, with only the 4x200 freestyle remaining, it would be a shock to see Schmitt leave London without four medals.
Schmitt is swimming with confidence that is undeniable, and her ability to stay calm under pressure is outstanding. She trains with Michael Phelps, which helps with her nerves. Not only do they train together in the United States but they also like to help each other out in London.
Schmitt told reporters:
I just tried to keep focused and keep calm, she answered, when asked about her strategy. Mike and I were joking before the race that he said as soon as you get on the blocks it's time to start focusing.
It’s because of her ability to stay loose before races that has really propelled Schmitt to London glory. So many times athletes are overwhelmed with the pressure of the Olympic Games and collapse.
Schmitt seems to be swimming like she is swimming in a race at her local swim club. The Olympic Games don’t faze Schmitt, and that is why she has continued to dominate in London.
Besides being a great swimmer, Schmitt is also an incredible teammate. Phelps recently raved about Schmitt to Nicole Auerbach of USA Today:
She’s awesome, Phelps said after he won the men’s 200-meter butterfly Thursday. I love being around her. She always makes you smile. Very outgoing person, very hard worker.
I’ve been able to see her transform into the person she is today as a swimmer and as a person...She’s not afraid of anything, and it’s showing.
At 22, this could be Schmitt’s last legitimate chance to win gold medals. When the Rio Games roll around in 2016, she will be 26. Missy Franklin will only be stronger and faster making Schmitt's chances of winning gold smaller.
Schmitt knows this and it shows. It seems that she is swimming every race like it’s her last, and it has been working. She will be swimming her last event in London tonight and after just setting the Olympic record in the 200-meter, it would not be shocking to see Schmitt carry the Americans to the gold.
Heading into the final, the Americans posted the second fast time in the heats, just one second behind Australia. The Americans will need to feed off of Schmitt’s energy if they want to upset the Australians.
Once the Americans capture their medal, Schmitt will have won a medal in all four events of her London Games. You know who can’t say that?
Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte