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Team USA In Good Shape For London

Jul 2, 2012  - Craig Lord

Team USA Director Frank Busch and the head coaches for men and women, Gregg Troy and Teri McKeever, met media this morning ahead of the last session of finals at US Trials in Omaha this evening. The prospects of the aquatic superpower are good, they reckoned after 23 men and 24 women (team list at the foot of this file) put themselves in line for selection to be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee.

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and a few others were able to race through without a full taper to make the team this week. If the times on the clock were not as sharp as they will be in London at the end of the month, the closeness of battle between the two makes for great entertainment. 

Sell-out crowds of between 12,000 and 14,500 each evening, with more than 7,000 in the house for long morning sessions, combined with TV viewing figures of 5m for finals to confirm popularity. The TV ratings being reported here offer a realistic count that reflected numbers prepared to sit and watch whole races through finals - and contrast starkly with dubious counts of 100s of millions for sports events that base the numbers of any who might have caught a fleeting glimpse of the end of a Phelps race on the news.

In terms of how efforts here in Omaha translate to the big show coming up in London, things are looking good for the US. Paper exercises count for nothing when the gun goes off but here are some facts and figures from the Century Link Convention Center on the way to July 28, the first day of racing at the Olympic Games:  

Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte all have a possible seven events to go for. Other women have raced in seven events but Franklin, 17, is the first in swimming history to take on seven events in which she has a strong chance of a medal in each one. The 4x200m freestyle was added to the Olympic programme in 1988.

Five swims were the best we've ever seen in textile suits:

  • 52.08      Matt Grevers     100m backstroke
  • 1:54.40   Allison Schmitt  200m freestyle
  • 58.85      Melissa Franklin 100m backstroke
  • 56.42      Dana Vollmer     100m butterfly
  • 4:31.74    Elizabeth Beisel 400m medley

The US occupies 63 places in the top 10 across all 26 solo Olympic events, just shy of a quarter of all places possible, with 34 men in the mix and 29 women. In the detail:

Among men, US has (with podium potential in mind): 

  • five world No 1 ranks
  • three top 2 ranks
  • seven events in which it has two of the top three world ranks
  • five events in which it has no top 3 place (including 100m free, in which Australia has three top 10 places including the top 2)
  • relative weakness in distance freestyle
  • relative weakness on breaststroke
  • 14 potential medals that rely on Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte (inc relays)

Among women, US has (with podium potential in mind): 

  • 7 world No 1 ranks
  • one top 2 ranks
  • two events in which it has two of the top three world ranks
  • three events in which it has no top 3 place (including 100 free, in which NED and AUS are stronger for the relay)
  • relative weakness in the 200m butterfly
  • 7 potential medals that rely on Missy Franklin 

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Head men's coach Gregg Troy summed up the task ahead when he noted: "We know where we're at. We have 21 great days planned for them [the team] and we'll respond really well."

Teri McKeever, women's head coach, was positive too: "I'm excited about the way the team has unfolded. The rest of the world is looking at how fast we're swimming. There are great possibilities to get better and we can focus on."

Did Troy feel that, with a nod to the leading strength of Phelps and Lochte, the US team would embrace of temper the expectations of "fans"? "I think we embrace them. Its good for the sport and the athletes. On the other hand, those fans need to understand that there are other guys in the world that are really good. Michael and Ryan are aware of those challenges."

The US is alone in having a tight turnaround between trials and Games but McKeever noted that everyone had had four years to prepare their plans on that basis.

Busch added: "Fortunately for us, the head coaches and staff have had dry runs with this same kind of schedule in [the college season]" with SECs and NCAAs three weeks apart."

Team was the other factor. "American kids understand American teams and have a concept of what that means," said Busch. "The world sacrifice to them is a badge of honour … to unite them is something we will work on but is something they understand going in."

McKeever concluded: "There's an expectation of every coach and every athlete … they have a vision of how to get better in the next 26 days." 

The US London 2012 team after trials: 


  • 50m freestyle: Cullen Jones 21.59; Anthony Ervin 21.60
  • 100m freestyle: Nathan Adrian 48.10; Cullen Jones 48.46
  • 200m freestyle: (Michael Phelps 1:45.70); Ryan Lochte 1:45.74; Ricky Berens 1:46.56
  • 400m freestyle: Peter Vanderkaay, 3:47.67, Conor Dwyer, 3:47.83
  • 1500m freestyle: Andrew Gemmel, 14:52.19; Connor Jaeger, 14:52.51
  • 100m backstroke: Matt Grevers, 52.08 WTB; Nick Thoman, 52.86
  • 200m backstroke: Ryan Lochte, 1:54.54; Tyler Clary, 1:54.88   
  • 100m breaststroke: Brendan Hansen, 59.68; Eric Shanteau, 1:00.15
  • 200m breaststroke: Scott Weltz, 2:09.01; Clark Burckle 2:09.97
  • 100m buttefly: Michael Phelps, 51.14; Tyler McGill 51.32
  • 200m butterfly: Michael Phelps, 1:53.65; Tyler Clary, 1:55.12
  • 200m medley: Michael Phelps, 1:54.84; Ryan Lochte, 1:54.93
  • 400 medley: Ryan Lochte, 4:07.06; Michael Phelps 4:07.89 (Phelps becomes the first American male swimmer to make it to four Olympic Games)
  • 4x100m freestyle: Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, Matt Grevers, Ricky Berens (Jimmy Feigen, Jason Lezak)
  • 4x200m freestyle: Lochte, Phelps, Ricky Berens, Conor Dwyer (Matt Maclean, Charlie Houchin, Davis Tarwater)
  • 4x100m medley: to be named in London


  • 50m freestyle: Jessica Hardy, 24.50; Kara Lynn Joyce, 24.73
  • 100m freestyle Jessica Hardy, 53.96; Melissa Franklin, 54.15
  • 200m freestyle: Allison Schmitt 1:54.40 WTB; Melissa Franklin, 1:56.79
  • 400m freestyle: Allison Schmitt 4:02.84; Chloe Sutton, 4:04.18
  • 800m freestyle: Katie Ledecky 8:19.78; Kate Ziegler 8:21.87
  • 100m backstroke: Melissa Franklin, 58.85; Rachel Bootsma 59.49
  • 200m backstroke: Melissa Franklin, 2:06.10; Elizabeth Beisel, 2:07.58
  • 100m breaststroke: Breeja Larson, ­1:05.92; Rebecca Soni, 1:05.99
  • 200m breaststroke: Rebecca Soni, 2:21.13; Micah Lawrence, 2:23.03
  • 100m butterfly: Dana Vollmer, 56.50 (56.42 semi); Claire Donohue, 57.57
  • 200m butterfly: Cammille Adams 2:06.52; Kathleen Hersey 2:07.72
  • 200m medley: Caitlin Leverenz, 2:10.22; Ariana Kukors 2:11.20
  • 400m medley: Elizabeth Beisel, 4:31.74; Caitlin Leverenz, 4:34.48
  • 4x100m free: Hardy; Franklin; Schmitt; Lia Neal (Amanda Weir, Natalie Coughlin)
  • 4x200m free: Schmitt; Franklin; Vollmer; Lauren Purdue (Shannon Vreeland, Alyssa Anderson)
  • 4x100m medley: to be named in London

Coaching staff name so far:

  • Team Director: Frank Busch
  • Head coaches: Gregg Troy (men) and Teri McKeever (women)
  • Assistant coaches: Bob Bowman, David Marsh and Eddie Reese (men); Steve Bultman, Dave Salo and Todd Schmitz (women)