Paige Schultz sat down with coach Byron MacDonald a year ago and made a decision.
The University of Toronto swimmer would focus on one event for a shot at the 2016 Olympic Games — 100 metre freestyle.
“We just sat down and looked at the numbers, and crunched numbers,” Schultz said, in a recent interview. “We realized (the 100 metre) was the best thing for me to do.”
She had success on the national stage this season, finishing fourth in Canadian University Sport in the 50, 100, and 200-metre freestyle events.
MacDonald talked last Wednesday about the discipline it will take to get Schultz to Rio de Janeiro next summer.
“She needed to gain a lot of strength,” said the former Olympic swimmer. “We needed two full years of strength training to get the power and the strength she needs for the 100 metres.”
The decision to focus on a single distance has put everything into perspective for the young athlete.
“I went a few years not swimming happy,” said Schultz. “I think a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer and the 100 free makes me happy.”
She began her post-secondary career at Arizona State University, but was not satisfied with her personal development during her freshman year.
“I didn’t swim as well as I should have, and I kind of had to step back and look at it,” said the 23-year-old. “I came home for the summer and trained, and I just kind of realized that this was more the place for me.”
The East York native competed in the Canadian Swim Trials held from April 1-4, but was unable to qualify for the national team competing at the Pam Am Games this summer.
In her primary event, the 100-metre freestyle, she finished third in the B Final and 13th overall with a time of 56.07.
Schultz competed in the previous games, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, finishing third in 2011.
“Winning the bronze medal at Pan Ams was really, really, really cool,” Schultz said. “It is definitely my favourite international memory.”
Schultz is also competing with other students for a spot in her third World University Games.
“I went to China in 2011, and then I went to Russia in 2013, this year it is in South Korea,” the Toronto swimmer said. “I better make it.”
Follow Connor on Twitter @cdorion15