In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges, Garrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.
We sat down with 2x Olympian, 14x world champ Olivia Smoliga, who is currently in Eindhoven for the ISL season 3 playoffs. Just before arriving in Eindhoven, however, Smoliga made the move from Athens, Georgia to Tempe, Arizona, where she is training with Bob Bowman at Arizona State.
Smoliga confirmed move, long-rumored, on the SwimSwam Podcast on Wednesday.
She’s the second Georgia Bulldog to have made this move recently – Hali Flickinger, who was a year ahead of Smoliga in Athens, moved prior to the Olympic Games to train under Michael Phelps’ former coach.
“This has been kind of brewing in my mind for the past couple of months, after this summer, after the Games. Even earlier this year, I had the opportunity to talk with..Bob (Bowman)…which is really nice.
“I had a pretty nice reflective period after the Games. I was able to go home, and didn’t do really much of anything for 5 weeks and I was just thinking about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. It seemed like a smooth transition, because Jack Bauerle, the coach at University of Georgia, is good friends with Bob (Bowman), so it was a really easy connection to make.”
Smoliga says that after 8 years of Georgia, she was ready for a “change of pace” and to “switch up the environment.”
Smoliga says the post-grads train with the college team at Arizona State. She’s spent the last 3 weeks adapting to the base, saying that it’s similar to what she had at Georgia, but that there has definitely been an adjustment.
Smoliga says that she’s been mostly training with Bowman, but has spent 1-2 days per week doing power work with Rachel Straton-Mills, the Associate head coach at ASU, who is the primary coach for the women’s team and works with 200-down swimmers. Smoliga’s sharing a lane with Jack Dolan and Patrick Salmon, members of the Sun Devil varsity team, when she trains with Bowman.
She goes on to talk more about the training, her training partners, and her ISL experience this season.
Smoliga qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in both 2016 and 2020, winning gold as part of the 400 medley relay in 2016 and bronze as part of the 400 free relay in 2020. She was a relay-only swimmer in Tokyo. She missed individual swims in the 100 free by .04 seconds, behind Abbey Weitzeil and Erica Brown, and in the 100 back by .12 seconds, behind Regan Smith and Rhyan White. That 100 backstroke miss was especially painful, given that she swam 58.31 in May that was a personal best and faster than anybody else went at Trials.
Smoliga, a Glenview, Illinois, native, graduated from Georgia as the school record holder in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 backstroke, and is a former NCAA Record holder in the 50 free. As a senior in 2017, she was named the SEC Female Swimmer of the Year.
Smoliga is in Eindhoven preparing for the Playoff round of the 2021 International Swimming League season. Swimming for the defending league champion Cali Condors, Smoliga was ranked 94th in MVP scoring through the regular season, even after missing her team’s first match of the season. She averaged almost 23 points/match in her last three. The Condors open their season on Thursday against Energy Standard, DC Trident, and Iron.
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Music: Otis McDonald
Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.
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