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In her second event, the 200-meter freestyle, she won a silver medal finishing behind world record holder Federica Pellegrini by 1.98 seconds.
Schmitt's time of .96 was good enough for the American record.
Schmitt was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1990 to Ralph and Gail Schmitt.
Raised as one of five siblings in what is still her hometown of Canton, Michigan, she went to Canton Charter Academy for elementary and middle school.
However, in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she took the 2011–2012 school year (her senior year) off, and so did not compete with the Bulldogs that year; and, instead, she moved to Baltimore and trained full-time with Bowman and Phelps at the NBAC; Following her return from London, Schmitt started suffering from depression, finding the increased public attention to be overwhelming.
"I thought about quitting," Schmitt said, "but stayed one more season and loved it." Prior to settling on swimming, she said she tried soccer, dance, basketball, volleyball, softball; and though she said she had the equipment for hockey, she decided to swim instead.
In the 200-meter freestyle final, Schmitt broke her own American record of .96 with a time of .40.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Schmitt won a total of five medals: three gold, one silver, and one bronze.
Four years later, at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she won a total of five medals, three of them gold, in the 200-meter freestyle (in which she set a new Olympic record), and she also won a silver medal in the 400 meter freestyle, and a bronze medal in the 4 × 100 meter freestyle relay.
In total, Schmitt has won seventeen medals in major international competitions: eleven gold, five silver, and two bronze spanning the Summer Olympics, the FINA World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Pan American Games.
At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Schmitt competed in three events, the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle, and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.