Olympic gold medalist sharing knowledge by coaching

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PHOENIX – “My mom saw that I needed my inhaler less and that I was getting healthier,” Misty Hyman said.

Swimming is what helped Hyman battle her asthma but it also uncovered a hidden talent.

“Think when I was about 10, that’s when I broke my first state record for 10-year-olds in the 50-yard butterfly,” Hyman said.

She turned to Coach Bob Gillett with the Arizona Desert Fox swim team. “He and I from the very beginning had a great coach-swimmer relationship,” Hyman said. “So I think I'm the swimmer I am today because of him.”

“I went from trying to break state records and then you go up to junior nationals and then senior nationals and there's always a next step,” Hyman said.

The next step was for the Olympics. Hyman was only 16 years old. “I had the best meet of my life in 1996 and I ended up missing the Olympic team by three one-hundredths of a second,” Hyman said.

Devastation quickly turned to hard work. She was on a swimming scholarship at Stanford University when she qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

“Really when I got there behind the block, I wasn't thinking about Susie O’Neill,” Hyman said. “I wasn't thinking about the 18,000 people in the stands or the millions of people watching at home. I was just thinking about having the best race I could.”

An underdog in the women's 200-meter butterfly, especially since tweaking her signature underwater dolphin kick due to a rule change, Hyman shut down her critics.

“After so much hard work and being doubted for so long, especially after the rule change, I couldn't have written the movie better if I had tried,” Hyman said. “Of course one of the best moments of the Olympics was seeing my parents. Really your parents and coaches are the ones who really know what you've been through.”

A gold medal, graduating from college, turning pro, Hyman’s life was on the fast track.

“I heard a little voice inside my head that said ‘I don't belong here anymore’,” Hyman said.

She retired at 24 years old. Today Hyman spends her time at the Melrose Paradise Recreation Club in Phoenix.

Coach Hyman is sharing her knowledge with all ages. She not only helps out at the community pool but with tri-athletes at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, even coaching at her former high school Shadow Mountain.

“I really didn't know if I would be a great coach,” Hyman said. “You hear all of the stories that a lot of athletes can do but can't teach, so it was kind of trial and error.

“I learned what it takes to get there and it doesn't matter if it's in swimming, school, or in drama, or what it is in a young swimmer's life, swimming is a way that I can teach them to go for those goals.”

Goals the 32-year-old says are never too late to reach. “I think it's important to remind people if we really put our minds to doing something, we can do incredible things.”

In between doing all of this, Hyman completed her MBA in finance and hotel management in Switzerland.

For more information on getting lessons from Hyman or her swimming company MISTYFLY go to melrosemakos.com and http://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/accommodations/specialspackages/triathlon.php.