LONDON --- Georgia swimmer Allison Schmitt won the women’s 200-meter freestyle in dominating fashion on Tuesday at the Olympics.
Schmitt, a rising senior from Canton, Mich., stopped the clock in 1:53.61, nearly two full seconds ahead of France’s Camille Muffat, who went 1:55.58. Schmitt lowered the Olympic record (1:54.82 set by Italy’s Frederica Pellegrini in 2008) and her own American record (1:54.40 set at the United States Olympic Trials in July).
“I was just racing,” Schmitt said. “I knew I had to kick it. I just look at that scoreboard and see 53 and first place. I couldn't be happier. ... It still hasn’t sunk in. I couldn’t be happier bringing home hardware to the USA, let alone a gold medal.”
“It was an outstanding swim right from the start,” said Georgia coach Jack Bauerle, who is in London. “She just went out and did it. She took care of business immediately and it was never in doubt. She swam such a great race. She was absolutely outstanding. I am so happy for Allison, her family, Team USA and Georgia. She made us all so proud.”
“Allison was in a very good place before the meet. I could tell something special was possible. She’s always a happy person, but when it was over, she was as happy as I’ve ever seen her. She was just beaming.”
"At Trials, I was a little heavy on the legs,” Schmitt said. “So tonight I wanted to lay off the legs a little bit so I could bring it home faster.”
Schmitt is the first Georgia swimmer to claim a gold medal in an individual event at the Olympics. The previous four came on relays. Schmitt also matched the school record of four medals set by Kara Lynn Joyce at the 2004 and 2008 Games. Schmitt won a bronze at the Beijing Games and had earned a bronze and a silver earlier in the London Games.
Said Bauerle, “She told me she wanted a medal of every color. She’s got them now.”
Schmitt’s final event of the Olympics will be on Wednesday when she swims on the heavily favored 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Schmitt redshirted this past season as she trained in Baltimore with Coach Bob Bowman and a club that included Michael Phelps to prepare for the Olympics. Schmitt is a 15-time All-American, an eight-time NCAA champion and a five-time SEC champion.
“She dedicated herself to this and it’s paid off for her,” Bauerle said. “We’ll definitely welcome her back with open arms. She’s a great team person.”