Oakland Catholic Swimmer Earns Olympic Medal
Mt. Lebanon native Leah Smith is competing in her first Olympic games in Rio.
(l-r) Jazz Carlin, Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith
Leah Smith will have some hardware in her luggage when the swimmer returns from the Olympic summer games in Rio. Smith, a graduate of Oakland Catholic High School, won the bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle Sunday night. It is her first Olympic medal.
While Smith has competed on an international stage before, she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the Olympics are different.
“I went to Worlds and I thought that would prepare me, and it did, but nothing compares to this,” Smith told the PG. “It’s unlike any other meet I’ve ever experienced. But it’s a blast and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”
Smith's teammate, Katie Ledecky, won the gold medal and set a new world record for the event. Jazz Carlin of Great Britain won the silver medal.
Smith has a chance at more medals. She is set to compete in the 800-meter freestyle later this week. She says she is determined not to let her nerves get the best of her.
“I think I need to just stick with my strategy of trusting my race plan and trusting my coach’s plan for me,” Smith told the Post-Gazette. “I think that’s really it. For me, I’m the type of swimmer that needs to be having fun behind the blocks. I need to smile. So I think just not getting too tense before my race is going to help a lot.”