Allison Schmitt Says Michael Phelps Being in Tokyo Is a 'Huge Support System' for Her and Team USA

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Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt
Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt

Stephen Lovekin/Getty

Allison Schmitt has one of her closest friends cheering her on in Tokyo.

The eight-time Olympic medalist, 31, tells PEOPLE that she has a "huge support system" in swimming great Michael Phelps, who retired from the sport after the 2016 Rio Games and will be at the Tokyo Games as a primetime NBC correspondent alongside Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines in the booth for select races. This year will be the first Olympics since 2000 that Phelps, 36, has not competed in.

"I've lived with him for the past five years, he's like a brother to me," Schmitt says of Phelps. "To have him here, even though he's not swimming, to have him here and his support is huge. Not only for myself, but for all of Team USA."

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Schmitt
Schmitt

Schmitt, who is one of four captains of the USA swimming team, and Phelps, who won more total Olympic medals with 28 and gold medals with 23 than anyone in history, shared coach Bob Bowman and have always been supportive of one another.

In June, Phelps was there when Schmitt qualified for her fourth Olympics at the swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, where he rushed down from the stands to meet her to share a long congratulatory hug as both of them wiped away tears.

Now in Tokyo, Schmitt is looking to add more hardware to her collection of medals (four golds, two silvers and two bronzes).

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On Saturday, Team USA qualified for the women's 4x100m relay final when Schmitt, Olivia Smoliga, Catie de Loof and Natalie Hinds finished with the second-fastest time of 3:34.80, just 0.77 behind Great Britain.

"Mentally keeping calm, that's what I've been really focusing on, during high-pressure moments. I know at trials that was a huge test. If I could do it there, I could do it here," Hinds told PEOPLE of what she's been working on as she heads into her first medal event in Tokyo.

Also at Saturday's preliminary heats, all Team USA swimmers — Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland, Torri Huske, Claire Curzan, Jake Mitchell, Kieran Smith, Emma Weyant, Michael Andrew and Andrew Wilson — advanced in their respective events.

The women's 4x100m relay final will take place on Sunday.

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.