For sophomore André Schultz, collegiate swimming is a family tradition.
His mother swam in college in Sao Paolo, Brazil because she considered it healthy exercise with little threat of injury. Schultz and his three older siblings followed suit, but none of them expected to be so talented.
“My sister was the National Champion back in Brazil.” Schultz said. “So growing up (she was) someone I wanted to be like. But it turns out, I got to be better than her.”
While he can kid around about his big sister, his impressive resume is no joke.
Schultz was an NCAA All-American honorable mention for both the 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley last season. On Jan. 18th, the Sao Paolo native won two events against Michigan State, taking first place in the 200-yard backstroke with an NCAA consideration time (1:45).
Swimming may be their most noteworthy accomplishment, but Schultz and his family have never allowed it to define them.
His mother is a doctor, his father an engineer, and his brother is following his two uncles into genetic research.
“My family has always been about academics,” Schultz said.
Even his champion sister was pushed by her parents to focus more on her studies. She is now a medical student in Brazil, and Schultz said he thinks it was the right decision for her.
Somehow, Schultz needed to find a balance between continuing his family’s tradition of academic excellence and following his own passion in the pool. That’s where being a student at Michigan helps.
Schultz said he has no regrets about leaving the busy streets of Sao Paolo. He likes it more in Ann Arbor, where he has thrived.
“He is the quintessential student-athlete,” Michigan coach Bob Bowman said.
Though only one of his brothers has been able to visit or attend a meet, Schultz’s family is surely proud of how he has continued the family’s tradition of scholarly success.
An NCAA Academic All-American, the mathematics major also received the 2007 Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement Award and has a 3.6 grade point average.
Bowman believes Schultz has a clear picture of where he wants to go in life, but Schultz isn’t so sure.
“I don’t know exactly where I’m going or where I will be in five or 10 years,” Schultz said. “But I think I’m covering all the angles. I plan on swimming as long as I can, and after that, I plan on following a college career, maybe research like my uncles and my brother or even be a professor. I think I’d enjoy that.”
As far as his goals for the swimming season, Schultz is more specific. He wants to swim an automatic qualifying time in each of his three events for the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
And after Michigan wraps up its season in March, Schultz has his sights set on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He tried to post a qualifying time a year and a half ago and was just .93 seconds too slow in the 200-yard individual medley.
“After I moved to Michigan, it took some adaptation and I haven’t been able to drop this time, but I am training better than ever,” Schultz said. “I am really confident.”
There are two more chances for him to qualify for the Brazilian team – one in April, the other in May. But Schultz thinks he’ll get just one more shot at attaining Olympic glory. He won’t attend the April competition if it interferes with finals.