Olympic years can be brutal for paranoid team USA fans. With the last Olympic trials meet in the world, helpless fans are forced to watch as the rest of the world puts up fast times while they wait for Omaha. Musings of a Paranoid Team USA Fan is part of an ongoing series on this psychosis
It's been a few months, and I am really freaking out. I mean, can our 4x100 freestyle relay even make the final at this point? I'm not sure. What the heck is going on in Brazil? They are definitely doping, right Craig? Also, we're lucky there's no 50 fly at the Olympics, because if there was we'd be totally screwed. At this point, I hope that we get a couple medals. The following are what is really freaking me out at the moment:
I know it was a while ago, but how about Australia? I mean, they are going to totally dominate us in sprint freestyle right? They had two guys 47 in the 100 free at their trials meet. How many sprinters in the US have been under 48 seconds post "THE SUITS"? Zero? We are totally screwed.
What about the 200 free, where we went 1-2 at the last World Championships. I was feeling pretty good about that until Yannick Agnel went 1:44.42, faster than either Phelps or Lochte went last year. But, chances are two guys that will be 27 and 28 years old will have a sharper improvement curve than a 20 year old, right?
If we held the Olympics today, America's only legitimate chance to medal in freestyle would be the aforementioned 200 free. In every other event, "America's Swim Team" seems poised to be crushed under the wave of young. hungry talent forming around the world.
If you look in the strokes, it doesn't get much better. At this point, we have two likely winners: 100/200 fly (Phelps) and 200 backstroke (Lochte). Otherwise the favorites are Lacourt (100 back), Kitajima/Dale Oen (100 Br), Kitajima/Gyurta (200 br),
On the women's side, Team USA stills looks similarly outclassed in freestyle events. Unless one of our sprinters can drop a massive amount of time (.5 or more) in the 50 free they will not be able to keep pace with Ranomi Kromowidjojo. In fact, the fast sprinter in the US from 2011 (Jessica Hardy) would have to improve nearly .4 seconds in the 50 to beat the Netherlands 3rd fast (Inge Dekker 24.42). Meanwhile, barring significant improvements from Dana Vollmer (24 years old) and Natalie Coughlin (29 years old), Team USA could legitimately miss the final entirely in the women's 100 free. 200 Free looks a bit better with Allison Schmidt, but 400 on up is a major question mark.
Luckily for us, we have National Team Director Frank Busch to provide a positive counter balance for the coming Olympics. He told Sports Illustrated that "we have the potential to have the best Olympic team we have ever had". And who could argue with that?