Profile: Colorado Stars swim coach Todd Schmitz

A peek into the life of Olympic coach Todd Schmitz

It takes a special kind of coach to send an athlete to the Olympics. Todd Schmitz is not only this, but also much more. Schmitz, head coach of the Colorado Stars, has overseen many successful athletes. From the Olympian Missy Franklin to national champion swimmers. Schmitz is a great coach all-around. The team itself has also won multiple Colorado age group state championships. Schmitz has been a huge part of Colorado Stars.

Schmitz has not always been a swim coach. In 1993, he started by coaching baseball. Schmitz was a catcher for his high school baseball team so he was able to get into coaching the sport. Schmitz began coaching swimming in 2000 with the Colorado Stars, where he coaches currently.

Even to this day, Schmitz still coaches a few of the original swimmers of Colorado Stars that have been with him since the beginning. Franklin as well as many others are within this group. Now each of those swimmers are achieving some of their biggest goals.

His passion for coaching is undeniable.

“I truly feel like I have the best job in the world. Most days I get to go to work in shorts and flip-flops and be around kids that make my day better,” Schmitz said.  “I truly feel that I’m making a difference in their lives.”

Schmitz has been greatly influenced through his years of coaching.

 “Since 2009, I’ve been able to go on international trips with the U.S. swim team. Just being around the world’s best swimmers and coaches on a daily basis definitely makes me better and I try to bring those lessons that I learned back to my staff and back to the entire team of the Colorado Stars,” Schmitz said.

“I think that our success is not just dependent on Missy, we’ve had a lot of success at the team level, all the way from sectionals, jr. nationals, the Olympic trials.”

But Schmitz tries to be more than a coach. He tries to teach life lessons through swimming. He tries to emphasize finding a balance between school, swimming, and social life. Though he is serious about swimming, he still want his athletes to have fun.

When most people hear the name Todd Schmitz in the swimming world, they think of Missy Franklin. Franklin has been swimming with Scmitz for about eleven years. Schmitz has progressed through the coaching staff as Franklin also made her way up the group levels on the team. From a young age Franklin showed potential. Schmitz helped to build her up and helped her to achieve her goals. Of course one of the largest goals was the Olympics.

4-Time Olympic gold medal winner Franklin thinks of Schmitz as much more than a coach.

 “Todd has been more than a coach to me for these eleven years. He has been a mentor, a leader, and most importantly a friend. I will be forever grateful for all the work and effort he has put in to help get me to where I am today,” Franklin said.

Schmitz’s first Olympic trials were in 2008 with Franklin swimming as a thirteen year old. From this point on, Schmitz was committed and was able to bring not only Franklin, but five athletes to the 2012 Olympic trials. At these trials, Franklin made her first Olympic team and was on her way to London.

The Olympic coaching staff is decided before the trials except for a couple of spots. These spots are reserved for a couple of coaches of athletes who made the Olympic Team.  Schmitz was one of these coaches chosen to be a part of the Olympic coaching staff for the London Olympic Games.

Coaching at the Olympics is a lot different from just coaching at a small meet around here in Colorado.

“You know, that’s the crazy thing, it’s really not that different. You still deal with the crazy packed warm up of all different abilities, obviously at the Olympics everybody’s a little closer in abilities, but not everybody’s at the world’s best, so that’s one thing I learned about it, being at the Olympics or being at the world championships, that those meets are just like every other meet,” Schmitz said.

“You gotta learn from every experience every time you hit the pool. At the Olympics, besides being in front of 20,000 people for the race, 50 meters is 50 meters,  the flags are in the same spot, the blocks are the same, the pads are the same, you know everything’s the same.”

At the Olympics, Franklin won multiple medals, and even got a world record. Through the whole meet, Schmitz, as he told us, had many memorable experiences. Each race he remembers in detail.

Todd recalled when Franklin won her first gold.

“The 100 back was her first gold medal, it came about 12 minutes after the 200 free semifinal, so I think the best thing about it was I didn’t get to think about the 100 back until about 10 minutes before the race because I was worried about the 200 free before it,” Schmitz Todd. “I tell everybody there’ll never be another experience like it, listening to the national anthem being played at the Olympics for your swimmer.”

Now, Franklin has gone off to college and swims at Cal Berkeley, one of the best women’s programs in the country.The team hosts a handful of Olympians which now includes Franklin. Schmitz has also helped to get three other swimmers into swimming at the collegiate level this past fall.

Schmitz is still the Head Coach of Colorado Stars and is coaching strong. He has recently been  inducted into his high school’s hall of fame for all of his achievements as a coach. He recently had two of his senior swimmers sign with different colleges as well. He is loving coaching and is hoping to continue to have successful athletes.

 Click here to watch a short video about Schmitz from Touch the Wall.