10 Months ago, after the FINA World Championships, I made predictions about who would make the Olympic Team. With the Olympic Trials starting tomorrow, I wouldn’t change too much.
For the women, Katie McLaughlin is coming off an injury (so my high hopes for her might have to wait four more years). Claire Adams just injured her hand last week. Lilly King is a breaststroker that came out of nowhere and should be in the mix for an Olympic spot. Madison Kennedy is the top seed in the 50, so add her to the mix.
On the Men’s side, Connor Dwyer has been swimming exceptionally well this year — look for him to be in the mix for everything. Phelps might not swim the finals of the 200 Free.
The best races this week:
- Men’s 100 Back — there are only two spots available and there are three men who could win a medal in Rio. Someone is getting left at home. Tuesday night
- Men’s 200 Free — an absolutely loaded event and only six swimmers will qualify. To give you an idea of how deep this field is — Phelps is seeded 15th. Not sure he will swim all the way to finals, but that gives you an idea of what kind of race this will be. Any of the top 16 seeds have a chance to make it. [Any one has a chance after all Leicester just won the EPL, but the top 16 have a real legit chance]. This race is also Tuesday night — if you watch one night this is a good one to pick.
- Women’s 200 Breast — No one has separated themselves from the pack in this race. Someone will need to have a breakthrough swim if they want to be competitive in Rio. [Friday night]
- Really you should be watching all of them. But these three should be the most exciting down to the wire finishes.
The predictions from that post.
Who will make Rio for the US team
Men – Nathan Adrian is still top dog here. I predict Caeleb Dressel is the second guy, double gold in the sprint events at the US Nationals, I only expect him to get better. Dark Horse – Anthony Ervin, this guy has been around a long time and knows how to get his hand on the wall.
Women – Simone Manuel is still the best American sprinter. Lia Neal is an excellent sprinter and still young. Dark Horse – Natalie Coughlin, like Ervin, has been around a long time. Never EVER discount her chances
Men – Adrian and Dressel again. Relay – Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger, Maxime Rooney. Dark Horse – Anthony Ervin (see above). Michael Andrew – depends on his development.
Women – Manuel and Neal. Sprinters are sprinters. Relay – Missy Franklin, Margo Geer, Alison Schmitt, Natalie Hinds. Dark Horse – Coughlin.
Men – Phelps, Lochte. Relay – Rooney, Connor Jaeger, Connor Dwyer, Dressel. Dark Horse – Zane Grothe, distance guy out of the Badger club dropping down to the 200
Women – Katie Ledecky, Franklin. Relay – Katie McLaughlin (the 18 year old had a solid world championships and should get better), Schmitt, Neal, Leah Smith Dark Horse – Hannah Cox, only 17, finished fifth at Nationals this year.
Men – Jaeger, Michael McBroom. Dark Horse – Clark Smith, 2015 NCAA champion in the 500 freestyle
Women – Ledecky. Huge gap. Cierra Runge. Dark Horse – Lindsay Vrooman Hali Flickinger. They were 1-2 at Nationals within a few hundredths of Runge’s time at Worlds.
Men – NA
Women – Ledecky. Runge. Dark Horse – Becca Mann – she just missed qualifying for the open water event, so she will likely focus her attention on the 800.
Men – Jaeger, McBroom. Dark Horse – Jordan Wilimovsky, already a 2016 Olympian by winning the open water 10K in Kazan, could challenge for the one of the 2 slots in what would be a sprint for him. PJ Ransford – Michigan has a history of cranking out distance freestylers, Ransford is only a Sophomore next year, he’s only going to get better.
Women – The IOC are sexist pigs. Women are “too delicate” to compete in this distance, never mind that Katie Ledecky would have finished 28th in the world. On the Men’s side.
Men – Ryan Murphy – turned in the fastest split of the Worlds meet (never duplicated it), Matt Grevers (defending champion won’t go away easily). Dark Horse – Conger
Women – Franklin, Claire Adams winner at Nationals, and is only 17 years old. Dark Horse – Coughlin, if she decides to swim it.
Men – Grevers, Lochte. Dark Horse – Murphy
Women – Franklin, Adams. Dark Horse – Elizabeth Beisel, if she can recover from her injury
Men – Kevin Cordes (keeps getting better at long course), Michael Andrew (very bold, but a semi weak event for the US, he could definitely get much better in one year). Dark Horse –Reese Whitley
Women – Katie Meili, Jessica Hardy Dark Horse – Rebecca Soni (if she comes out of her hiatus), Laura Sogar
Men – Cordes, Andrew Wilson (won the 100m Breast at Nationals, and is the top seed in the 200m) Dark Horse – Will Licon
Women – Micah Lawrence, Sogar Dark Horse – Breeja Larson
Men – Phelps, Conger Dark Horse – Tom Shields, mercurial talent, could win Nationals or could fail to make the finals in possibly the deepest event for the Americans
Women – Kelsi Worrell, Dana Vollmer. Dark Horse – Kendyl Stewart
Men – Phelps, Conger Dark Horse – Lochte
Women – McClaughlin, Cammile Adams. Dark Horse –Worrell (she scratched as top seed at Nationals)
200 Individual Medley
Men – Phelps, Lochte. Dark Horse – Michael Andrew
Women – Maya DiRado (one of the few bright spots at worlds), Caitlin Leverenz. Dark Horse – Ella Eastin
400 Individual Medley
Men – Chase Kalisz, “Gunner” Bentz – winner of Nationals at only 19 years old. Dark Horse – Tyler Clary, one of the most versatile swimmers, but always overshadowed by some of the greatest swimmers of all time.
Women – DiRado, Leverenz. Dark Horse – Eastin
There’s your team. It should improve drastically on the medal haul from the World Championships, despite the fewer events. Though, I hope they add the Mixed Relays in soon, those were super fun to watch (and looked like, to swim).