Omaha: US swimmer Allison Schmitt has done a good job keeping out of the spotlight until now, but given the company she keeps that has not been too difficult.

While Schmitt won a relay bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a relay gold at last year's world championships in Shanghai, her achievements have paled in comparison to her more famous team mate Michael Phelps.

Schmitt trains in the same North Baltimore team as Phelps and has the same coach, Bob Bowman. While Phelps and Bowman have been feted all the world, Schmitt has gone about her business quietly.

But all that could change at the London Olympics with the 22-year-old poised to make a huge splash after winning the 200m and 400m freestyle double at the U.S. trials.

Not only did she win the races, she set the fastest times in the world since synthetic suits were banned at the end of 2009, ensuring she will be one of the favorites in London.

She employs a fearless strategy, going out hard, usually under world record pace then hanging on for dear life, but it has worked so far.

"I was just going for it and trying to hold on," she told reporters after winning the 200m final on Thursday.

"I'm surprised, but I've been having a great training year, and I've been preparing for this. I still have another race, the 100m free, then I'm ready for London."

By winning the 200m, Schmitt automatically booked herself a spot in the 4x200m relay and could add the 4x100m relay if she finished in the top six of a talented field.

"I think she is just glad to be in the 200m," said Bowman. "But we'll see how it goes. She has to improve, and I think she needs to improve to be able to win a medal."

Schmitt initially joined Bowman's team in 2008 when he temporarily took up a job in Michigan where she was studying, then relocated to Maryland after her studies.

She has become close friends with Phelps, with the pair watching a movie together before Thursday's final, and has benefited from sharing his hard work ethic and devotion to the sport.

"I remember when she couldn't do a push-up or a pull-up and now she can do three sets of eight pull-ups. That's a monumental change," said Bowman.

"I think one of the reasons she is more consistent now is he (Phelps) has taught her how to manage her energy.

"Because of her personality she loves to be social and interact with people, and I think that drains her to a point, and in some of the big meets before she burned up her energy before she could use in a big race, and now she is learning to manage all that. I think he's helped her with that."


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