20 Yard Hotel-Pool Trainee Emma Schanz Verbally Commits to UCLA

High school senior Emma Schanz, one of the more unique stories in swimming, has verbally committed to the UCLA Bruins – the program’s first verbal commitment this fall.

Schanz’s story is a unique one in that she doesn’t train with a big club team or even in a big pool. She lives in Colville, Washington, an hour away from the nearest club team, and usually trains alone in a three-lane, 20-yard hotel pool, as outlined in this story by Mike Gustafson from 2013.

And yet she’s still managed to do the improbable and not only excelled in swimming, but in fact qualified for the USA Swimming Summer National Championships.

In yards, her best times are:

  • 100 back – 53.94
  • 200 back – 1:56.59
  • 100 breast – 1:02.50
  • 200 breast – 2:11.90
  • 200 IM – 1:59.10

And the best part is that despite training in a pool that’s even shorter than short course, she’s even better in long course. She has meters bests of 1:02.73 in the 100 back, 2:13.71 in the 200 back, 1:11.63 in the 100 breast, 2:30.63 in the 200 breast, and 2:18.28 in the 200 IM.

The breaststroke/backstroke combination that she brings to UCLA is unique enough without consideration for her training circumstances, and that makes her a very, very intriguing prospect for the Bruins. UCLA is pretty stacked in the backstrokes right now, with sophomores Linnea Mack and Madison White both going 52’s last season. That means Schanz would be more immediately valuable as a breaststroker.

It’s the breaststrokes, and specifically her 200, that earned her a spot on the 2014-2015 Junior National Team. She’s clearly talented enough in the backstrokes, though, that it might be her ticket to the senior National Team and beyond.

Her success, of course, wasn’t achieved entirely alone. She represents the Spokane Waves Swim team, and travels to train with them one day a week in the winter and a few days a week in the summer. The rest of the time, head coach Kevin Wang sends her workouts that she adjusts to a 20-yard pool.

Emma used to have a training partner, her brother Dylan, but Dylan is now on the swim team at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Great decision, see you at school (;

7 years ago

Your doing an amazing job and overt coming obstacles with what options you have! That’s amazing dedication and I really hope to see you in the Olympics and will be rooting for you all the way! Keep up the determination and you will go far!

Bob Ravet
8 years ago

I have a slightly different viewpoint of both Emma and Dylan, as I coached them in Cross Country while they were at the middle school and saw what incredible athletes they were, every practice…every race, they gave 110% and were such great role models. I was a great priviledge coaching these two outstanding young adults. One thing not mentioned is the support both Emma and Dylan had from their parents. I’d say behind every athlete there are VERY supportive parents. HATS OFF to everyone.
BTW…Dylan shared a goal with me in 8th grade…and that was to be a participant in the Olympics…It looks like he could have included Emma into this dream..Know I’ll be watching both of you…

8 years ago

I love stories like these, not of the norm! There are some cases of swimmers only training a couple times a week and winning state or CIF championships. I remember the Kokomo Kid back in the 70’s and a few others.

Daniel Roy
8 years ago

I’ve raced both of these people and I’ve seen them compete in the pool, and let me tell you when you here they practice in a hotel pool it blows your mind that’s what happened to me.

8 years ago

Okay, this is an amazing story. She has something really special. A true inspiration. I hope she makes it to the Olympics!

8 years ago

Very Proud of Emma and all her accomplishments. Colville is such a small town with only a summer swim club program (Colville Sharks) that has nothing but heart pushing them forward. To have a swimmer come out of this town that has accomplished this much is amazing! If anyone reading this could actually see the pool at the hotel you would have a much better appreciation for where she has been swimming with no coaching. The pool is not at some posh hotel, we are talking about a motel on the side of the highway, where most people don’t stay more then one night…not to take anything away from Benny’s Motel after all the rooms do have air conditioning, and… Read more »

8 years ago

With all due respect to her brother who has commented that the pool was not an advantage…I train in a 20 yard pool and I know many others who do train in a 20 yard pool. The shorter pool allows for better technique because there is less lactic acid buildup in a shorter pool. The shorter pool is great for butterfly and breast especially since some believe those strokes should almost always be swum with great technique.

But I don’t want to hijack this article with a side debate any more. Congratulations to her and she shouldn’t get depressed if she needs to train in a 20 yard pool during the offseason.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »