Leah Smith Moves to Austin to Train with Carol Capitani, Mitch Dalton at Texas

2016 U.S. Olympian Leah Smith has moved to train with Carol Capitani and Mitch Dalton at the University of Texas, she confirmed to SwimSwam on Tuesday.

“I moved to Austin in August and I am training with Carol and Mitch and the women’s team at Texas,” Smith said. “It’s been so fun getting to know a whole new team and coaches. The girls have been so welcoming and awesome to train with.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect and admiration for both Carol and Mitch and so I’m very excited for my journey with them, and to cheer on Texas this year!”

Smith said that she was grateful for her time at Arizona. “I’m very thankful to the coaches at Arizona for everything we did over the past few years together and I’m excited for what’s next!”

Smith represented the United States in Rio at the Olympic Games, where she won gold while swimming a leg of the finals 800 free relay, plus an individual bronze medal in the 400 free. She also placed 6th individually in the 800 free.

Smith has a number of other individual international medals as well. That includes 2 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronzes from the long course World Championships. At the most recent World Championships, in 2019, she won silver on the 800 free relay and bronze in the 400 free.

In short course, she won gold in both the 400 and 800 frees individually at the 2016 World Short Course Championships, part of 5 total World SC medals. She also has 5 Pan Pacific and 2 World University Games medals.

In spite of a run of international success after the Rio Olympics, Smith didn’t qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic team. She finished 4th in the 400 IM final, 3rd in the 400 free final, and 8th in the 200 free final. She didn’t attempt the 800 free at Trials.

Smith was a four-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia. Her four seasons there overlapped with the four seasons of Augie Busch, and when Busch left to become head coach at the University of Arizona, Smith followed. Busch coached her in the leadup to both the 2016 and 2021 Olympic years.

Even with Virginia’s recent rise to become the top women’s program in the country, Smith still holds school and ACC conference records in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyles. Paige Madden, who won the 200, 500, and 1650 free at the most recent NCAA Championships, broke her record in the 200 free last season.

No Tokyo 2020 U.S. Olympic female swimmers trained at the University of Texas in the runup to the Games. Two would-be Longhorns, however, did: Lydia Jacoby, a breaststroker who won the 100 breast in Tokyo, will join the program next fall. Erica Sullivan, who took silver in the 1500 free, is a freshman this season.

Smith was signed to the Tokyo Frog Kings’ roster for the 2021 International Swimming League season, but did not make any regular season appearances. Tokyo finished 4th in the playoff “Play-In” match two weeks ago, which ended their season.

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Let’s Go Brandon!
6 days ago

Good luck to Leah!

CORRECTION: Smith did NOT swim the individual 200 free at Rio. The two US qualifiers in that event were K Ledecky and M Franklin.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimming_at_the_2016_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Women%27s_200_metre_freestyle

Monteswim
6 days ago

Why not Florida with KL?

oxyswim
Reply to  Monteswim
6 days ago

Gainesville isn’t for everyone

MC (not) Hammer
Reply to  oxyswim
6 days ago

Either is training with KL. Just ask Dwyer

Hswimmer
Reply to  MC (not) Hammer
6 days ago

Spill ittttt

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  Hswimmer
6 days ago

She lapped him and multiple male swimmers in distance sets during Olympic training and he did an interview about how she emotionally broke all the male swimmers and that it was so embarassing to be beaten by a female and that it “decreases your morale”

Taa

Probably why he took some testosterone.

Hswimmer

Lmaoo what a pr…

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  MC (not) Hammer
6 days ago

He doesn’t want to be broken by her 🥺🥺🥺

W H Y
6 days ago

I’m hoping there is strategic professional opportunity in Austin that is not at all swimming related (yes working with Mitch is a plus)

Ghost
Reply to  W H Y
6 days ago

Boyfriend?

GatorSwim18
6 days ago

My recollection is that Smith trained primarily with Chitwood during her successful years. After he left Arizona, it was surprising that Smith stayed and continued to train with Pete Richardson who has very little experience or success training elite level swimmers in general, let along Olympic level distance swimmers. I think Smith’s performance at Trials was more indicative of this vs. Smith not being capable of going faster. Wish her the best of luck, that training group with her and Sullivan is dirty!!

USA
Reply to  GatorSwim18
6 days ago

Add in Evie Pfeifer and its one of the best in the country

yardfan
6 days ago

Great news for the team!

Betty
6 days ago

CORRECTION: Smith did swim the 800 free prelims at the Wave II Olympic Trials and was 10th.

Austinpoolboy
6 days ago

Erica Sullivan, Leah Smith & Evie Pfieffer makes a heckuva distance lane. Does Joanna Evans still train there between ISL competition?

Texas Dad
Reply to  Austinpoolboy
6 days ago

Yes Joanna still trains at Texas.

Hswimmer
6 days ago

Is Simone Manuel still at Stanford and/or training any, since we’re on the switching topic?

swimgeek
Reply to  Hswimmer
6 days ago

I’d love to see Simone come east and try out a sprint program like a UVA or NCST — or a David Marsh program in San Diego.

Dmswim
Reply to  swimgeek
6 days ago

I wouldn’t recommend Marsh’s program. Who from that program has performed well lately?

oxyswim
Reply to  Dmswim
6 days ago

Baker set a world record in 2018. That’s not 3 decades ago. If you don’t think Marsh is one of the best coaches if the world you’re insane. He’s also worked with Baker through her issues with Celiac and helped guide a 35 year old to Olympic gold. If anyone understands how to not push his swimmers to a breaking point it’s Marsh.

Shhhh
Reply to  oxyswim
6 days ago

He has ruined ever swimmer he has worked with recently… ruined

ReneDescartes
Reply to  Shhhh
6 days ago

Uhh, didn’t Deloof make the Olympic team?

DMSWIM
Reply to  ReneDescartes
6 days ago

Yes, Catie Deloof who trained with UVA. She left TE.

Shhhh
Reply to  oxyswim
6 days ago

How’s she doing now?

ACC fan
Reply to  Dmswim
6 days ago

And let’s not forget that Cullen Jones was under Marsh for awhile too

SwimFan76
Reply to  swimgeek
6 days ago

I don’t know when NCST has produced a good sprint female?

Taa
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 days ago

Kylee Perry was no slouch and Alons is a stud.

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  swimgeek
6 days ago

georgia would be good for her too she could train with Hinds and Smoliga

Ol' Longhorn

Isn’t Smoliga at ASU?

katie’s gator arc
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
6 days ago

NOOOO i’m gonna miss the smoliga + hinds georgia duo 😭😭

Taa
Reply to  Hswimmer
6 days ago

If you just want us to speculate I’ll guess that she retires. Why do something that is so detrimental to your health?

Hswimmer
Reply to  Taa
6 days ago

It’s OTS something you can work through if you still love the sport, which she says she still does.

Yozhik
Reply to  Hswimmer
6 days ago

Whenever the word syndrome is used it means that underlying problems are not really clear. During one year two best ever and the only 52sec US swimmers couldn’t even make relay team at Trials. And not because the competition was strong. They were out of picture completely.
But nobody even bothers to talk about unexpected decline of Comerford. How the Manuel’s case is different.
Ah, I forgot – OTS. That explains 😀

Taa
Reply to  Yozhik
6 days ago

You have to feel sympathy for Comerford dropping off as far as she did. She swam ISL even and still struggled going times she could easily beat a couple years ago and not one word mentioned anywhere. I wonder if her and Swimone could benefit from a reduced workload training program probably needs to be something outside the box. Look at what Wasick did taking a break and coming back going crazy fast times.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Taa
6 days ago

I mean, her times fell off, but she’s no Joe Schooling.

Ledecky will go under 8 minutes in the 800
Reply to  Yozhik
6 days ago

you really love using that one emoji after every sentence

Troyy

I see quite a few sentences and only one emoji.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Troyy
6 days ago

He’s an algorithm.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Yozhik
6 days ago

Uh, the underlying reason for Down’s Syndrome (and about 100 other syndromes) is perfectly clear. And if you don’t think elite athletes overtrain to their detriment, especially in an Olympic year, you haven’t been paying attention. As for Comerford, you could ask the same for Schmitty and why she can’t come near her 2012 times. The difference is, Schmitty was better at her best. The fall-off, percentage-wise, has been similar.

Yozhik
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
6 days ago

I’m not a doctor to argue with you. Just referring to the definition:
Syndrome – a group of symptoms which consistently occur together.
Different underlying reasons can cause similar group of symptoms. BTW, do you know who came up with this OTS statement? Her doctor or coach or her representative? And why it was announced so late then? Manuel was unusually slow all season long. From the very beginning. And therefore I am not really buying this OTS stuff. I was fooled once with this back muscles spasm that was used broadly to explain Missy’s downfall.
The example with Allison Schmitt isn’t the best one in this case. She was sick.

Wahooswimfan
Reply to  Yozhik
5 days ago

I read on the other swimming news source that Comerford had health issues – a case of Covid perhaps? – could well be that she had more lasting impact than others.

coachymccoachface
Reply to  Wahooswimfan
5 days ago

Or she’s dating a guy 10 years older than her that’s a known party kinda guy?

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, …

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