Michigan swimmers punch their tickets to Rio Olympics


Canton's Allison Schmitt is among the metro Detroit swimmers who will represent the United States at the Summer Olympics in Rio next month.

Schmitt will compete in her third Olympics after qualifying for the women's 800 meter relay earlier this week.

The freestyle swimmer will attempt to qualify for another event when she swims in the 100 meter freestyle final Friday night. Schmitt won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze during the 2012 games in London and a bronze in the 2008 games in Beijing.

Among those representing the University of Michigan in Omaha, Nebraska, are graduates Connor Jaeger and Sean Ryan.

Jaeger won the men's 400 meter freestyle race on the opening night of the the U.S. Olympic swim trials to secure his place on the team.   He competes again in the men's 1500 meter freestyle on Sunday along with Ryan who already qualified for the Olympics in the 10K open water event.

This will be a second Olympics for Jaeger who competed in the men's 1500 meter freestyle in 2012.

Tyler Clary, will attempt to make the Olympic team in the men's 200 meter backstroke Friday night, the same event he took home gold during the 2012 London Olympics. Clary is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Michael Phelps, who swam at the University of Michigan, will be competing in his fifth Olympics qualifying in the men’s 200 meter butterfly Wednesday night. It is his signature event swimming it in every Olympics. During his first Olympics in 2000 in Sydney he finished fifth in the 200 meter butterfly then went on to win gold in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing games, and silver in the 2012 London games.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has won 18 gold medals, 22 Olympic medals overall.

He will compete in the men’s 200 meter IM at the Olympic trials Friday night to qualify for that event.

First time competing, a special experience

Ali DeLoof, also a U of M graduate, competed in her very first Olympic trials in the women's 100 backstroke.

"I had a lot of fun and that's what I wanted to do," DeLoof Said.

DeLoof said she came into the event a little nervous.

"To be honest I was really nervous, this was my first trials so I didn't really know what to expect but everyone was telling me to put a smile on and just enjoy it."

She is really proud of her first trials performance, finishing fourth in the women's 100 meter backstroke and shaving five seconds off her time, something she credits to her years of training at U of M.

"I really have to attest it to my teammates and coaching staff, without them I wouldn't be here.  I know they believe in me at times when I didn't believe in myself so I really am grateful for my team and coaches and teammates," DeLoof said.

She said this about beating Olympians Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin in the women's 100 meter backstroke:

"That was awesome. I felt kind of bad, but it was really fun," DeLoof said. "I just kept telling myself you can do it Ali you can do it."

She also swam the women's 100 meter freestyle and competes in the women's 50 meter freestyle on Saturday.

Also experiencing trials for the first time is Cole Bateman a freshman from Eastern Michigan University.  He competed in the men's 200 meter backstroke.

"First time being here I made top 16 in 200 backstroke its wonderful opportunity for me," Coleman said.   "Unbelievable, walking into a pool with close to 17,000 fans it's nothing like any other pool in the United States"

He sees the chance to compete in trials as a great chance to swim with other great swimmers including Tyler Clary and Ryan Lochte.

"I've swam meets with Clary and Lochte before but being in the pool with them really makes you think about how special an athlete you really are, not everybody gets this opportunity," Coleman said.

The University of Michigan has 15 current students, 10 alumni and six incoming freshmen competing at Olympic trials, for more UM results click here.

To follow the US Olympic swim team, click here.