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2016 Olympic Swimming Trials: Final Thoughts

Another Olympic Swimming Trials are nearly in the books.  Only events left are the women’s shortest and the men’s longest.  No Prelims this morning.  Zero world records broken.  I expected at least 1 or 2 of them to go down but alas they survive until another time.

Here are some random thoughts to wrap up the week of excitement…

The one that got away…

I shed quite a few tears for the one’s that got 3rd:  Bethany Galat, Kendyl Stewart, Amy Bilquist, Matt Grevers, Caitlin Leverenz, Will Licon, Cassidy Bayer, Tyler Clary, David Nolan, Lisa Bratton, and Seth Stubblefield.  I left off 3rd place winners that were named to Team USA in a different event or relay.

Galat, a Texas Aggie, nabbed 3rd place…twice.

Matt Grevers, Tyler Clary, and Caitlin Leverenz do not get to defend their Olympic medals from 2012 in their respective events.  This interview with Grevers just gives me goosebumps.  I can’t imagine being filled with this much emotion.

Dave T. suggested yesterday that Ryan Lochte’s career has been somewhat overlooked because of Michael Phelps.  I had to respectfully disagree.  Lochte owns 89 international medals including 11 of the Olympic kind.  He’s currently still the fastest human being ever in the 200 IM — both LCM and SCM.  Phelps’ career has only made Lochte’s that much better.

David Nolan and Eric Shanteau are the real “victims of bad timing”.  Neither made the Olympics in the 200 IM and both got 3rd behind Phelps and Lochte.  Though, both of them were freakishly great.  David Nolan’s 1:39.38 in the yards version of the 200 IM is just flat out remarkable.  Eric Shanteau’s 3rd place showing of 1:58.15 at 2008 Olympic Trials would have been a national record in every other country except the USA at that time.

Youth movement.

American youth continue to impress.  Majority of qualifiers are 1st time Olympians.  But, there were also a slew of youngins’ that didn’t make the team but were oh so close.  Amy Bilquist, Matthew Josa, Cassidy Bayer, Grant Shoults, Michael Andrew, Michael Taylor, Austin Katz, John Shebat, Zach Harting, Andrew Seliskar, Abe Devine, Katrina Konopka, and Anya Goeders are just a few of the up-and-comers you will want to watch over the next four years.

Retirement.

The number of retirements is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.  It’s really a testament to the growth of the sport, especially on the professional side of things.  Elite hubs like SwimMac will continue to develop and take shape but we have to do a better job of sponsoring and supporting athletes that spend 4 years training for their dream.  This is an issue I’ve put a lot of thought into and expect to help conquer in the upcoming years.

Impact of great college programs.

Dave Durden and the rest of the coaching staff at Cal Berkley deserve a big round of applause.  On the Men’s side, Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley, Tom Shields, Josh Prenot, Nathan Adrian, and Tony Ervin all made the team in individual events.

Jack Bauerle, Georgia, and Co. put Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland, Gunnar Bentz, Olivia Smoliga, Allison Schmitt, Melanie Margalis, and Hali Flickinger on the team.

Ray Looze and his team at Indiana added Lilly King, Cody Miller, and Blake Pieroni.  Top breaststroke talent in America continues to flow from Bloomington.

The Stanford Cardinals led by Greg Meehan grabbed a few more spots with Simone Manuel, Lia Neal, and Maya DiRado.  DiRado was the Swimmer of the Meet on the women’s side IMO.  Three individual swims, three dominating wins.  Yet another high profile retiree once Rio is over.

Eddie Reese and his team of Texans continue to support America’s chances in the 4×200 Free Relay.  Townley Haas, Jack Conger, and Clark Smith will all be a part of that circus.  Jimmy Feigen will get an opportunity on the 4×100.

Ryan Held of NC State taking 3rd in the 100 Free adds another hot gun to the Men’s 4×100 Free Relay arsenal.  What the coaching staff at NC State has done is nothing short of spectacular.  What most excites me about Held is the fact that he can be inserted anywhere into the lineup.  Held led off the Gold medal winning 4×100 Free Relay at NCAA’s this past year posting a 41.7 in Prelims and 41.8 in Finals.  He also anchored the Silver medal winning 4×50 Free Relay in a pretty quick 18.28.

The force is strong with our Medley Relays.

Assumed Women 2016:

Olivia Smoliga, Back: 59.02
Lilly King, Breast:  1:05.20
Kelsi Worrell, Breast:  56.48
Abbey Weitzeil, Free:  53.28
3:53.98

In 2012, we set the World Record:

Missy Franklin:  58.50
Rebecca Soni:  1:04.82
Dana Vollmer:  55.48
Allison Schmitt:  53.25
3:52.05

Assumed Men’s 2016:

Ryan Murphy, Back: 52.26
Kevin Cordes, Breast: 58.94
Michael Phelps, Fly: 51.00
Nathan Adrian, Free: 47.72
3:29.92

In 2009, we set the World Record:

Aaron Peirsol: 52.19
Eric Shanteau: 58.57
Michael Phelps:  49.72
David Walters:  46.80
3:27.28

Swim of the Meet

Leah Smith’s 400 Free.  Nearly broke 4:00.  We now have the top two 400 swimmers in the World.  This event could very well be the first Gold for Team USA in Rio.  It’ll provide huge momentum if we can go 1-2 in an event on Day 2.

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