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article imageMeet Leah Smith: 2016 Olympic gold and bronze medalist swimmer Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 18, 2018 in Sports
On September 18, two-time Olympic medalist Leah Smith chatted with Digital Journal about the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and her future plans.
At the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Smith won a silver medal (in the women's 4x200 meter freestyle relay as part of Team USA), as well as three bronze medals (in the women's 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle and the 1,500 meter freestyle). "I was pumped about those," she admitted. "It was cool to go to Tokyo this past August, which is the city that is hosting the 2020 Olympics."
Two years prior to that, she won the gold medal (women's 4x200 meter freestyle relay) and the bronze (women's 400 meter freestyle) for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "That was awesome. It seems like forever ago," she said. "I look back at those a lot. Both were pretty awesome moments."
On her plans for the future, Smith said, "Right now, I am taking things one step at a time. I don't like to have too much on my plate at once. I am gearing up for the World Cup events in two weeks in Eindhoven and Budapest. Then, I will be getting ready for the World Short Course Championships in China this December."
Regarding her daily motivations, Smith noted that she has many goals. "I have so many goals and I am always trying to work towards those. If I achieve a goal, I make a new one," she said. "I like to make my goals lofty so that I am always shooting for something."
For aspiring swimmers, Leah encouraged them to be "confident" in what they are doing. "When I made the step up from a 'good swimmer' to a 'great swimmer,' a lot of it have to do with my confidence and trust in my coaches that I was as prepared as I could be," she said. "My confidence really flourished by giving 100 percent day in and day out."
"I am super grateful to the fans," she said. "I have alway s been in awe of the support that Team USA gets, and it always pumps me up when I am at a big meet. It is just so special to me."
On her definition of the word success, Smith said, "Success has definitely a component of doing your best and knowing that you put it all on the line. That might not always translate into a medal, but it might translate into doing your own personal best."
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on swimming, Smith said, "It is easy to get really caught up in that. It is awesome that there are science and research supporting a lot of different things. I don't want that to take away from coming to the pool and working hard every day. It's awesome to learn more about all these things, and I definitely like to be really educated about it. If I am working hard all of the time, I am going to experience success."
Smith acknowledged that advancement in video technology has been "awesome." "One of the best things about traveling with USA Swimming is that they bring along a great video staff. There is a great staff that is filming what you are doing, and they will break it down to you. It is helpful to have your stroke broken down and see what areas need improvement. That helps me carry that into practice."
She also noted that she has used GoPro for swimming in previous instances, and shared that they have been "helpful." "I don't really use my GoPro for practice. I like to take mine on adventures," she said.
To learn more about 2016 Olympian and American swimmer Leah Smith, follow her on Twitter.
More about Leah Smith, Swimmer, Olympic, American, medalist
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