The Winner: Allison Schmitt
Allison Schmitt is the sometimes-overlooked member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, but she, in our opinion, is perhaps the most important member of the most successful swim team we’ve seen in the modern era of swimming: the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
The Olympic medals don’t even begin to scratch the surface, though 3 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze, and an anchoring World Record as part of the 400 medley relay is a good place to start.
But here’s what doesn’t show up in the medal tables, at least not directly. This year, Schmitt reinvented herself from just a middle-distance, 200/400 freestyler into one of the top 100 freestylers in the country. A year before the Olympics, nobody would have ever believed that Schmitt would be a huge contributor on the 400 free and 400 medley relays at the Olympics. That made a huge impact on the United States’ overall success.
Then, let’s not forget that she went to Baltimore this year to train with Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps. I don’t know if it was ever said by either, but it was easy to see the relationship between the two develop and would be hard to imagine that Phelps’ return-to-focus in the run up to his last Olympics had nothing to do with Schmitt’s personality. Even beyond just her and Phelps, Schmitt was the glue that held this Olympic Team together.
Whenever any of the team members were asked to talk about their teammates, their best teammates, their funniest teammates, the answers turned predictably to Schmitt. Missy Franklin, who herself would have been a worthy recipient of this award, has talked about Schmitt keeping everybody loose behind the blocks. This all while putting up some of the fastest 200 and 400 freestyles in history.
For reinvention, for elevating those around her, and for just being downright fast, Allison Schmitt is the winner of the 2012 Swammy for Female Swimmer of the Year.
If there were an award for funniest swimmer, Schmitt would probably win that too. She’s got jokes on jokes on jokes.
Missy Franklin, USA
Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands
Camille Muffat, France
Shiwen Ye, China