Annie Zhu and Allison Schmitt are becoming teammates. This is not news, as Zhu verbally committed to Georgia back in October, and signed her letter-of-intent in November. But as it turns out, the pair will not have to wait until the fall (when Zhu begins competing for the Bulldogs and Schmitt returns from an Olympic redshirt year) to do so, as Zhu has joined the elite training group at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC).
Zhu previously competed for Asphalt Green in New York, where she trained with wunderkind Lia Neal, among others. Now she’ll head 200 miles south to Baltimore to work with Schmitt, head coach Bob Bowman, and the rest of his high-performance staff.
The future Georgia swimmer is the holder of 4 National Age Group breaststroke records (100 short course and long course in 10 & under; 200 short course and long course in 11-12). She then would qualify for, and compete at, the 2008 Olympic Trials when she was only 13.
She’s hit a bit of a plateau over the past year. In November, she went the best 100 yard breast of her career (1:01.10), but in her four best long course events (100/200 breast, 200/400 IM) she hasn’t gone a best time since the summer of 2010. She’ll hope to trend her times back downward in time for the 2012 Olympic Trials.
NBAC has been at the center of many of an increasing number of high school swimmers who are moving to work with a certain coach. Liz Pelton left NBAC late last year to work with Paul Yetter in Florida, and National Champ Gillian Ryan joined NBAC around the same time after coming from the Parkland Aquatic Club near Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Zhu hopes to begin training at NBAC this week.
Another future Bulldog, Chase Kalisz, also trains at NBAC.