Allison Schmitt


“Being a part of the 2012 Olympics 400m medley relay team. I knew the three other girls already had their world records, and I wanted to join the club.”

Current photo via courtesy of Adidas swim


“200m freestyle” and “Allison Schmitt” are practically synonymous. The middle distance queen has won a total of 14 international medals, including nine gold. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Schmitt grew up with her parents and four siblings in Canton, Michigan. Initially, swimming was buried in the long list of other sports that comprised 9-year-old-Schmitt’s repertoire, but she remained dedicated and joined Ann Arbor Swim Club (AASC) at age 11.

AASC became Club Wolverine in 2006, and Schmitt soon began training with Michael Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman. While Schmitt attended Canton High School, her true potential began to show at a 2007 Junior National meet. After graduating in 2008, Schmitt moved with Bowman and Phelps to Baltimore, Maryland and trained at North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

Schmitt made her Olympic debut that summer at the Beijing Games, swimming the 200m freestyle and the 800m freestyle relay. She placed ninth individually and helped her teammates (Natalie Coughlin, Caroline Burckle and Katie Hoff) to bronze medal and American record in the relay.

NCAA Career

Schmitt enrolled at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2008 and began what would be an illustrious collegiate swimming career under coach Jack Bauerle, who had also served as the women’s Olympic head coach. She studied psychology and trained with Phelps under Bowman during the summers. Schmitt is now a 6-time NCAA individual champion, consecutively winning the 500m freestyle in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and the 200m freestyle in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She took one year off to train for the 2012 London Olympic Games and then returned to UGA for her final season in 2012-2013.

International Competition

2008 Olympic Games

In 2008, Schmitt made the olympic team as a member of the 800 free relay. In the finals of the relay, Schmitt led off (1:57.71) for the Americans that would go on to win bronze in a new American record (7:46.33).

2009 FINA World Championships

At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Schmitt won silver medals in the 200m freestyle and 800m freestyle relay and finished fourth in the 400m freestyle.  Schmitt also participated in the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, winning gold in the 200m freestyle and 800m freestyle relay and finishing fourth in the 400m freestyle.

2010 Pan Pacific Championships

Schmitt participated in the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, winning gold in the 200m freestyle and 800m freestyle relay and finishing fourth in the 400m freestyle.

2011 FINA World Championships

In 2011, Schmitt won her first individual world championship in Shanghai, swimming the 800m freestyle relay. She also finished sixth in the 200m freestyle.

2012 Olympic Games 

In London, Schmitt won bronze in the American-record-setting 400m freestyle relay with teammates Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy and Lia Neal. Schmitt also secured a silver medal in the 400m freestyle, finishing only three tenths of a second behind winner Camille Muffat. She was later victorious over Muffat in the 200m freestyle, capturing her first gold, and also anchored the 800m freestyle relay (including Georgia teammate Shannon Vreeland, Missy Franklin and Dana Vollmer) to capture her second. Schmitt won her third Olympic gold in the 400m medley relay and helped teammates Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Missy Franklin to set a new world record in the event.

Time off

After leading the Georgia Bulldogs to women’s NCAA team victory in the spring of 2013, Schmitt failed to make the 2013 World Championship team in July. She decided to take some time off, recharge and refocus.

2014 National Championships

At the 2014 Nationals, Allison won the B-final in both the 100 (54.74) and 200 (1:58.36) freestyle. Though this didn’t put her on the Pan Pacs team for that summer, it did qualify her for the Pan Am team for the summer of 2015.

2015 Pan American Games

Schmitt bounced back in a big way in 2015 with a gold-medal performance and a Pan American Games record of 1:56.23 in the 200m free in Toronto. In her first international competition since the 2012 Olympic Games, Schmitt added three relay medals at Pan Ams to wrap up the Games with four total medals, including three gold.

2016 US Olympic Trials

Schmitt placed fifth in the 100 free and fourth in the 200 Free, thereby earning spots on the US Team for Rio in the 4×100 Free Relay and 4×200 Free Relay.

2016 Rio Olympics

Schmitt did her part as the lead off of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay going the second fastest time on the relay in a time of 1:56.21. The USA relay team of Schmitt, Katie Ledecky, Maya DiRado, and Katie Ledecky won gold in a time of 7:43.03.

2018 Return to Competition

After Rio, Schmitt didn’t register a swim in USA Swimming’s database for over 20 months, though she also didn’t make any official announcements about either her retirement or her desire to continue competing. Schmitt never left the USADA drug-testing pool, which is typically a pretty good indicator of retirement, and social media posts from her and Michael Phelps in 2017 hinted that Schmitt might be looking to make a comeback. In April of 2018, she did indeed make that comeback to competition by competing in the Pro Swim Series stop in Mesa.

2018 U.S. National Championships

Schmitt was runnerup in the 200 freestyle (1:55.82) and finished sixth in the 100 freestyle (54.24). She also was first in the B final of the 400 freestyle (4:08.46), ninth overall.

2018 Pan Pacific Championships

Schmitt qualified 2nd out of prelims in the 200 free on day 1 of pan pacs, but slipped to 4th in finals (1:56.71), just out of medals. On day 2, after swimming prelims of the 100 free, Allison led off the women’s 4×200 free relay (1:58.62) to earn her first international medal (silver) since the Rio olympics.

2019 FINA World Championships

In her 1st world champs in 8 years, Schmitt started things off in the prelims of the 4×100 free relay, leading off in 55.04 and helping the USA into the final heat, where they went on to finish 2nd. Schmitt swam the 200 free individually, finishing 14th overall (1:58.27). On Day 5, Schmitt raced in the 4×200 free relay prelims, where she split 1:59.37 on the 1st leg to help USA get 2nd seed heading into finals, where they would go on to earn a silver medal.

Originally developed by Natalie Schumann.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Bronze 800 Freestyle Relay 2008 Olympic Games
Gold 200 Free 2012 Olympic Games
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2012 Olympic Games
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2012 Olympic Games
Silver 400 Free 2012 Olympic Games
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2012 Olympic Games
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2016 Olympic Games
Silver 200 Free 2009 World Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2009 World Championships
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2011 World Championships
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Championships
Gold 200 Free 2010 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold 800 Freestyle Relay 2010 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
scy 100 Free 47.77 03/07/15 2015 ST American Short Course Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Free 1:40.62 03/06/15 2015 ST American Short Course Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 500 Free 4:32.08 03/05/15 2015 ST American Short Course Championships
Austin, Texas
lcm 100 Free 53.80 03/05/20 2020 Pro Series - Des Moines
Des Moines, Iowa
lcm 200 Free 1:53.61 07/28/12 2012 Olympic Games
London, England
lcm 400 Free 4:01.77 07/28/12 2012 Olympic Games
London, England
Allison Schmitt (photo: Jack Spitser) courtesy of Allison Schmitt, Maya Dirado, Leah Smith - 2016 Rio Olympics/photo credit Simone Castrovillari Allison Schmitt prelim swim 100 free Mesa, Arizona (photo: Mike Lewis) Allison Schmitt having a bit of fun in warm up at the Orlando Pro Swim Series (photo: Mike Lewis)