A Humble Olympic Champion’s Unconventional Coaching Story


Missy Franklin and her Olympic Gold

At just seventeen years old, Missy Franklin has already accomplished the dreams of a full grown adult athlete; she’s won a bronze from the 400 relay and an individual gold from the 100 meter backstroke. This is her first Olympic games, and for her ability she is said to be a prodigy. Swimmer Rowdy Gaines even calls her “a once-in-a-generation athlete”. Missy isn’t just known for her record times but her bubbly personality outside the pool. She’s shown off her new driver’s license to reporters and talked about liking artists such as Justin Bieber who recently tweeted about her gold win Monday night. With such a friendly attitude she is being compared to Michael Phelps. However, there are a few differences. Missy is still considered an amateur swimmer and has turned down thousands in endorsements. The reason being is that she wants to swim in college. She currently swims with her high school team in Colorado and seems to have an immense pride about her hometown of Centennial. Missy has conquered quite a bit but she wouldn’t be where she is today without her team of support.

Missy Franklin has a great amount of talent but she wouldn’t have been able to foster it without the help of her parents, Dick and D.A. Franklin. Her coach, Todd Schmitz is also a very important factor to her success. Missy’s parents put her in the pool to play as a baby! However, her serious swim lessons didn’t start until the ripe age of five years old. She then started training with Todd at the age of seven.

Once Missy’s talent was recognized her parents were encouraged to move to Florida, Texas, or California so she could train with a “better” swim coach and reach her full potential. Her parents weren’t paying top dime in Colorado and she was still swimming fast with Todd as her coach so they decided to stay put. Missy was having fun and doing well, that is what mattered to her parents. Todd Schmitz wasn’t an Olympian coach at the time but he was still very knowledgeable. He was a former college swimmer. He graduated with a business degree but quit the business world to do what he loved, coach swimming. Schmitz makes around $70,000 per year and works more than 12 hour work days. He is an extremely dedicated and hard worker who cares about his athletes. He wants them to work hard but just as importantly, wants them to enjoy themselves.

Missy Franklin

Todd’s training schedule for Missy is two hours a day, five days a week. Missy usually takes two days off. He’s a coach who likes to have fun, sometimes ending practice early to play water polo in the pool. He also makes sure to have a structured dry land practice twice a week to build core strength. He makes his athletes work hard but doesn’t overwork them. If he did then they would lose drive mentally. His methods are very dissimilar than Bob Bowman’s, coach of Olympian Michael Phelps. However, Bowman says that Schmitz’ strategy is “perfectly fine”.

Missy Franklin is a superstar athlete yet her coach has never trained an Olympian before. Her parents realized their daughter and Schmitz were a good fit for one another. There was no reason for them to move so she could train with someone more “experienced”. It’s important for an athlete to be pushed, click with their coach, and love their sport. These key ideas can be very much over looked. Fortunately, they weren’t for Missy.

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