We’re currently midway into July. That means it is hot and humid in Boston, there are less than two months before school begins, and the London Olympics are only a few weeks away. The USA Olympic team is currently being assembled for the Games which begin on July 27th. From June 25th to July 2nd, the Olympic team trials for swimming were held in Omaha, Nebraska. The big story from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was Michael Phelps’ domination of the pool he earned eight gold medals to become the most decorated Olympic athlete in history. He will be competing in seven events (four of them individual) at this year’s Olympics. However, there are other superstars this year, including Missy Franklin in freestyle and backstroke and Rebecca Soni in women’s breaststroke. Here are some things to watch out for in the coming Olympics:
Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte
One of the highlights of the Olympic Trials was watching Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte battle it out in different events. For the past few years, Lochte has been catching up to Phelps and consistently dominating. At the Trials, he upset Phelps in the 400 meter individual medley for which Phelps currently holds the American record. However, Phelps edged out Lochte by a few milliseconds in the 200 meter individual medley. Needless to say, this year’s Olympics will likely be an interesting cat-and-mouse display as both swimmers try for gold.
Missy Franklin just turned 17. She will enter her senior year of high school in the fall as the first woman to qualify for 7 events. Her first event at the Trials was the 100 meter backstroke, where she earned first place and broke the American record. She then moved on to qualify in the 100 meter freestyle, the 200 meter freestyle, and the 200 meter backstroke (where she also handily beat the competition). Will Franklin have a story similar to Michael Phelps’ domination at the 2008 Olympics? She has the world’s fastest time in the 200 meter backstroke this year, and her obvious excitement will likely lead her to the podium in multiple events.
Allison Schmitt and Jessica Hardy
Schmitt will be competing individually in the 200 meter freestyle and the 400 meter freestyle. At Trials, she won the 400 free, and beat Missy Franklin in the 200 free by two seconds. She is known for her upbeat personality on the deck, but she certainly transforms once she enters the water. On the other side is Jessica Hardy, who dominated the sprinting events in Omaha. Hardy edged out Missy Franklin to win the 100 meter freestyle and also ruled in the 50 meter freestyle. These two girls have a lot of competition facing them at the Olympics, but there is certainly a chance that they will medal.
Jessica Hardy’s mirror on the men’s side is Cullen Jones, who also qualified in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle events. He was part of the 2008 Olympic 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay that set a world record and won a gold medal. However, this will be his first Olympics competing in two individual events. He currently holds the American Record for the 50 free, which he set in 2008. The times are so close for competitors in Olympic sprinting events that it is entirely possible he will take home a medal, or get unlucky and end up at the bottom.
The Olympic indoor swimming competition begins on July 28th and culminates on August 4th.