In an interview with the German sports site sport.de, Theresa Michalak confirms that she plans to travel to the United States and train at the University of Florida.
Sport.DE, as well as several other German news sources, have reported on the news in the last two days, saying that she will head across the Atlantic on December 29th. The 21-year old Michalak could be one of the biggest signings of the fall – she is the 2011 European Champion in the 100 meter IM, and just a few days ago broke the German National Record in the same.
“Theresa rounds out our women’s class from the standpoint that she swims lots of different things,” Florida head coach Gregg Troy said. “She is a tremendous medley swimmer with great speed. She is a fantastic breaststroker and can swim on all five relays. She is an extremely versatile athlete, and is a real plus for us in the future. We’re looking forward to her competing with the Gators.”
Michalak has been 59.05 in the 100 SCM IM, as well as a 2:12.26 in the 200 LCM IM – where she’s also the German Record holder. For some perspective, that time in the 200 IM would have placed her 3rd at last summer’s U.S. World Championship Trials in the event.
She is a fairly well-rounded IM’er; she’s been 1:03.9 in the 100 back in long course, 1:10.8 in the 100 breast, and 59.2 in the 100 fly. She also brings bests of 26.2/56.0/1:59.12 in the 50/100/200 long course meter freestyles to the table.
A spokesperson from the University of Florida confirms that Michalak has signed her National Letter of Intent to swim for the NCAA program, meaning she’ll join the great IM tradition of Lochte, Beisel, and others at that program under Gregg Troy’s leadership.
Michalak will study sports science. The Florida spokesperson couldn’t confirm if she would be competing for Florida in the 2013-2014 season or if that would wait until the fall; she should have a significant impact either way, though her addition for this spring’s NCAA Championships could shift the entire landscape of college swimming.
The Florida women looked very impressive at the Ohio State invite last weekend, already good enough to warrant inclusion in the national championship conversation, and if they were to secure the addition of Michalak this season, who is in the least capable of a 30-point impact at NCAA’s in her first year, the roars from Gainesville would be even louder.
In her interviews, she thanked her current coach Frank Embacher of the Halle Swim Club for his work and for leading her to the Olympics. At the 2012 Games, she qualified for the semi-finals of the 200 IM and placed 12th. The move, however, comes after a disappointing World Championships in 2013, where Michalak failed to advance out of the prelims, finishing 19th overall.