Georgia’s Allison Schmitt becomes Bulldogs’ first swimmer to win individual gold

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Georgia’s Allison Schmitt on Tuesday became the school’s first  swimmer to win an individual gold medal.

The rising senior from Canton, Mich., dominated the field in the finals of the 200-meter freestyle race, trumping the No. 2 finisher by nearly two full seconds with a time of 1:53.61. That eclipsed the previous Olympic record of 1:54.82 and Schmitt’s own American record of 1:54.40 (set in Olympic trials this year).

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Schmitt told USA Swimming.  “I couldn’t be happier bringing home hardware to the USA, let alone a gold medal.”

Schmitt is a 15-time All-American, an eight-time NCAA champion and a five-time SEC champion at UGA. She was accompanied in London by Bulldogs swim coach Jack Bauerle.

“She just went out and did it,” Bauerle said in a UGA news release. “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.”

Georgia has had four swimmers win gold medals but they all came in relays. Schmitt’s gold was her fourth Olympic medal — matching the school record held by Kara Joyce — and third of the London Games. She won a bronze in Beijing in 2008 and has already claimed a bronze and a silver in London.

“She told me she wanted a medal of every color,” Bauerle said. “She’s got them now.”

It’s likely Schmitt is not finished collecting records. Her final event is Wednesday when she swims a leg for the heavily-favored 4×200-meter freestyle relay team

Schmitt redshirted this past season so she could train in Baltimore with her personal coach Bob Bowman in a club that included Michael Phelps to prepare for the Olympics.

“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.”

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