“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.
If there were any doubts about Schmitt’s middle-distance prowess prior to 2012, they were effectively quelled at the London Olympic Games. She returned to the Olympic stage as a valued member of the U.S. team, known for her positive attitude and congeniality. She had finished first in the 200m and 400m freestyle events at the U.S. Olympic Trials six weeks earlier and secured a spot on the 400m freestyle relay with a third place finish in the 100m 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and is currently finishing her degree in Athens. Schmitt plans to better her 2012 Olympic performance at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
2016 US Olympic Trials
Schmitt placed fifth in the 100M free and fourth in the 200M Free, thereby earning spots on the US Team for Rio in the 4x100M 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.
Originally developed by Natalie Schumann.