CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
After leading the Bulldogs to the women’s national championship, the 22-year-old finally turned pro before the Charlotte meet. She’s also resumed training with Bob Bowman, who was Phelps’ longtime mentor and will be leading the U.S. men’s team at the world championships.
Going back to college was the right move for Schmitt, who hopes to start challenging in the 100 freestyle after competing in the 200 and 400 free in London.
“It was definitely a different atmosphere,” she said. “People say the Olympics are a high, and I had trouble coming back down from them. But having the team there for me, supporting me the whole way, and jumping back into the college season definitely helped me out a lot.”
Murphy hasn’t even gotten to college yet, but he’s already one of the rising stars for the next Olympic cycle.
Only 17, he challenged for a spot on the 2012 team, finishing fourth in the 200-meter backstroke and sixth in the 100 back at last summer’s U.S. trials, where the top two finishers made it to London. Now a senior at Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Murphy expects to keep progressing in the back — his best stroke — and could become a factor in both freestyle and butterfly by the time of the Rio Games.
“I don’t think it’s impossible to have another Michael Phelps,” Murphy said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s me. But I’m going to work hard and try to improve my other strokes.”
Claiming a spot on the U.S. team that goes to worlds would be a huge step in Murphy’s development. The squad will be selected at next month’s national championships in Indianapolis.
“You can’t go into it thinking you don’t have a shot,” Murphy said. “I’m confident there’s a chance I could make it. Obviously, I might need a little bit of help. Somebody might have mess up a little portion of the race and I will have to step up. But I think I can step up.”