Swimmer Sierra Schmidt is known as the “dancing queen” of the collegiate swimming world, where she has just completed her senior season at the University of Michigan. And the 23-year-old from Erdenheim, PA, took those moves all the way to the 202 Olympic trials. “It’s something that works for me,” Schmidt said in a profile for Michigan Athletics two years ago. “When I put the headphones on, everything falls away and you know it’s just me, the music, the race and my team.”
Schmidt did ballet when she was younger, and she said she applied some of the techniques she learned in her swimming (and in her pre-meeting dance, we are sure!). Dancing, she noted, activates the muscles in her body that she needs to fire up before a race. The routines that started as “swaying” are now pre-planned and often consist of choreography from YouTube. For example, you will find her low K-pop numbers by the pool. She also brought her dancing skills to the 2016 Olympic trials as a teenager.
Ahead, check out Schmidt’s moves just before the 400m, 800m and 1,500m freestyle finals plus other footage from the pool deck. Although she did not qualify for Tokyo – she finished sixth in the 400m, seventh in the 1,500m and eighth in the 800m – we are so happy that we got to see her fun warm-ups! It’s a good reminder not to take yourself too seriously and to enjoy those special moments with a shake and a shimmy.