Sierra Schmidt was born on May 6, 1998 in Scottsdale, Arizona to Joe and Mindy. She lived in Erdenheim, Pennsylvania as a youth and swam for North Baltimore Aquatic Club under head coach Erik Posegay. Mom, Mindy, was a nationally ranked distance runner, and Father, Joe, coached swimming at Germantown Academy under the legendary Dick Shoulberg. Sierra also has a younger sister, Trinity.
Nicknamed the Dancing Queen, Sierra is probably best known for her pre-race ritual which includes putting her head phones on, closing her eyes and dancing for about 5 minutes.
At the 2014 Speedo Junior Nationals, Sierra won the 400m freestyle with a time of 4:10.92 a full 1.5 seconds ahead of second place. Her top time of 8:34.58 in the 800m freestyle was a full 2 seconds ahead of second place. Completing the distance triple, Sierra won the 1500m freestyle in 16:24.09, a full eight seconds ahead of the rest of the lead pack.
Schmidt was Ranked #2 in SwimSwam’s Top 20 NCAA Recruits for the Class of 2017. On October 3, 2016, Schmidt verbally committed to Michigan.
Schmidt was an immediate impact swimmer for the wolverines. At her first B1G Conference Championships, she placed 5th in the 500 free (4:38.68), 4th in the mile (15:54.39), and 8th in the 200 fly (1:58.12, 1:55.99 in prelims pre-mile).
At the NCAA Championships, Schmidt scored as a freshman, placing 14th in the 500 free (4:39.71), and 11th in the 1,650 (15:58.12).
Schmidt continued to improve as a wolverine in her sophomore year. At the B1G Champs, she placed 7th in the 500 (4:40.84), 5th in the mile (16:01.78), and 8th in the 200 fly (1:58.96, 1:57.10 in prelims pre mile).
At the NCAA Championships, Schmidt placed 13th in the 500 free (4:37.99, career best), 39th in the 200 free (1:46.76, career best), and 6th in the 1,650 (15:50.19, career best). She also anchored Michigan’s 4th place 800 free relay in 1:45.63.
At her third B1G Championships, Schmidt had her best showing yet. She placed 3rd in the 500 free (4:37.15, career-best), 2nd in the 1,650 (15:48.53, career-best), and 15th in the 200 fly (1:59.22).
2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships
At the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, Sierra was named swimmer of the meet after winning gold in the 800m and 1500m freestyles.
2015 Pan American Games (Toronto, Canada)
In Toronto, Sierra went out hard and kept going, cruising to a personal best time of 8:27.54, crushing Kaitlin Sandeno’s Pan Am Games record of 8:34.65. The record had stood for 16 years (1999), set just one year after Sierra was born.