“When we were practicing with Michael, Chris Brady and Kevin Webster [in Baltimore], he would always want to beat one of them,” Schmitt said. “Now, he’s one of those guys that everyone is trying to beat.”
Kalisz’s rise is nowhere close to complete, however.
Sure, he now has top 15 times in the world this year in both the 200 IM and 400 IM, but Bowman said there’s still much to work on.
Phelps stopped by a practice a few weekends ago, pointed out a flaw in Kalisz’s breaststroke and helped Bowman fix it.
“Oh, my god, he’s not even close to his potential,” Bowman said. “He’s got way long to go, and that’s a scary thing.”
There is no looking far ahead. Bowman won’t allow it.
In fact, Kalisz is just worried about his next race. His weakness is in the front half of the medley — butterfly and backstroke — meaning he typically has to come from behind just to finish top three.
“Nothing really fazes me anymore, but for me, it’s just staying patient,” Kalisz said. “I know everyone’s going to be out in front of me. I just need to swim my own race.”
It’s a lesson learned from one of the best.
But Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, knows what Kalisz is capable of achieving.
“It doesn’t matter who he stands up on the block next to, Chase is going to push you as much as he can,” Phelps said. “I think that’s something that’s pretty special that not many people can do.
“If Chase has the chance where he’ll be put in the environment with the best, he’ll rise to the occasion. I just hope I can help him reach his potential. He is, and will always be considered a younger brother to me.”
Meet Chase Kalisz
Hometown: Bel Air
High school: Fallston