Allison Schmitt is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. She is a 4x Olympian, 10x Olympic medalist, and Olympic, world, and pan pacific champion.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
2021 Olympic Trials
On night 4 of the Olympic Trials, Allison Schmitt qualified for her 4th Olympic Games, touching for 2nd place in 1:56.79, giving her not only a spot on the 4×200 free relay but the individual 200 free as well, which she didn’t qualify for in 2016.
2021 Olympic Games
Schmitt started her 4th Olympics in the 4×100 free relay on Day 1, swimming the 3rd leg in prelims. Schmitt split 54.04, helping the US women secure a spot in the final, where they went on to finish 3rd overall, netting Schmitt a bronze medal.
In the individual 200 free, Schmitt moved through the prelims to semis, where she placed 5th in heat 1 at 1:56.87, putting her at 10th overall and outside of the final. Schmitt was back to lead off the 800 free relay the next night, splitting 1:56.34 to help the USA earn silver behind China in a new American record, dipping under the previous world record set by Australia.
Originally developed by Natalie Schumann.