Athletes To Watch At Swimming Trials
He has vowed never to do eight events again, but Michael Phelps will remain one of the most important American swimmers in London. The 14-time gold medalist says he's going "try different events" in London, and at age 26, Phelps remains in his prime. With three more medals, Phelps will become the most decorated Olympian of all time, and he obviously remains vital to the United States' medal count.
Recently deemed "An Olympic Sex Symbol" by The New York Times , Lochte is poised to take center stage this summer after a four-medal performance in 2008. The world record holder in the 200 and 400 individual medley, Lochte has entered 11 races at the trials.
A victory over Michael Phelps in a ripped swimsuit at the Indianapolis Grand Prix allowed Adrian to break onto the national stage, even if he was a bit exposed. Maybe the top American sprinter, Adrian currently holds the top time in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle. An alternate on the 2008 4x100 relay, Adrian could be the marquee American swimmer of the 2012 Olympics.
The hero of the memorable 4x100-meter relay in 2008, the 36-year old Lezak is in position to qualify for his fourth Olympics in the 100-meter freestyle. The seven-time medalist will have a difficult time qualifying for the 50 freestyle with competition from Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones, but Lezak is a wild card with valuable experience.
The 17-year old sensation will finally get a taste of Olympic-level swimming in Omaha, and the expectations will certainly be high. Already a five-time medalist at the world championships and a world-record holder in the 200-meter backstroke, Franklin was named the 2011 FINA swimmer of the year and is arguably the most hyped American swimmer since Michael Phelps. With stars Natalie Coughlin and Dana Vollmer possibly swimming in their final Olympics, Franklin is, for now at least, the future of American women's swimming.
An 11-time Olympic medalist and the first woman to win six medals at a Games, Coughlin will return to the pool in Omaha for perhaps her last trials. Coughlin still dominates the 100-meter backstroke even with stiff competition from her protege, Missy Franklin. Look for Coughlin to qualify in the 100 free and 100 fly as well.
One of the top sprinters that the U.S. has to offer, Hardy may finally get her opportunity to swim in the Olympics in 2012. Despite a controversial positive drug test that forced her to withdraw from the team in 2008, Hardy has remained at the top of her craft, and should be the top qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle. She'll also swim in the 100 free and 100 breaststroke as well.
One of the more versatile swimmers in the U.S., Vollmer will likely do her best swimming in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly. The 2004 gold medalist should make her return to the Olympics after missing the 2008 Beijing games. Vollmer also stands a strong chance to qualify in the 200-meter freestyle.
Twelve years removed from winning the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle, Anthony Ervin's comeback will either kickstart or end at the trials. Ervin, who was 19 when he won gold at the Sydney Olympics, is returning to international competition after he unexpectedly withdrew his name from the 2004 Olympic trials.
The top breaststroker that the country has to offer, Soni enters the trials with the top marks in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. The three-time Olympic medalist will surely qualify for both events.