Five-time NCAA All-American.
Six-time Big Ten Champion.
Three-time All-Big Ten First Team.
All of these accomplishments belong to senior Lindsey Smith of the women’s swimming and diving team. And she is beginning to find out just how good she really is.
This summer, Smith wanted to make big strides. With the goal of gaining recognition at the international level, there was no shortage of motivation.
“After missing being on an international team my sophomore year, it motivated me to try again one more time,” Smith said.
The then-junior spent her summer doing three months of two-a-day workouts and competing overseas. After all that training, Smith has maximized her potential.
“That summer has really done wonders, because mentally it has really made her more confident and reestablished what her long-term goals are,” Michigan assistant coach Stefanie Kerska said.
As of Nov. 11, Smith swam in 14 events that the Wolverines finished first place in.
Individually, she has already posted an NCAA ‘A’ time in the 200-meter freestyle, at the Texas A&M Invitational. The best news came Nov. 22, when she was named Big Ten co-swimmer of the week.
Smith, who describes herself as pretty quiet, is someone who “leads by example, and does the right thing day in and day out,” Kerska said.
“She has no huge emotional ups and downs,” Kerska said, “She’s just real steady.”
During Smith’s first three years at Michigan, she never understood how much potential she possessed.
“I was never expecting to be so decorated, but I wanted to be, and so that motivated me all along to work hard every day,” Smith said.
Smith wasn’t alone. Even Kerska wasn’t sure of Smith’s potential.
“It was a really nice surprise throughout her freshman year,” Kerska said. “We got inklings all through the season of how good she was going to do, but to be honest, I’m not sure we could have told you how good she really was going to be.”
And don’t expect Smith to hang up the swim gear after this season. She will represent the United States in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the World University Games from Aug. 8 to 13, 2007. Qualifying for this international meet was the main focus of her strenuous summer training.
Even though she gets along great with her teammates, Smith has sometimes been very difficult to coach – but not for disciplinary reasons.
“She’s so low-maintenance and doesn’t need a thing,” Kerska said, “Those are sometimes the trickiest people to coach because you have a tendency to not coach her as much and give attention to the people that really seek it out. But we have been trying to make sure we cover all the bases with her as well.”
Smith plans on going into teaching after graduating, but her summer may bring even more success in swimming.
“She started getting that confidence this summer,” Kerska said, “But I think once she puts on the US National sweats and goes overseas and competes, she will get it even more.”