VIKING!: The race that has me most on edge is the Men's 400 IM. Come on... no matter what side of the fence you are on about Michael Phelps motivation and training over the last four years, you have to be excited that he entered this-- and not because he is a lock like he was four years ago. We have all seen the videos of Ryan Lochte picking up dump trucks and throwing them. We know he is ready to rip it in half, but the reports for a large part of this Olympic cycle had been about Michael's inconsistent training while Lochte was training in full-bore bad-ass mode without ever letting up. Phelps has avoided the 400 IM for a while, at one point even saying he was done with it forever, and now suddenly he has added it back to his schedule?! Hmmm.... The questions: Why did Michael jump back into this event? Can he still handle Lochte in an event this long? And is Phelps gonna be able to hold off Tyler Clary who has to be beyond sick of being stuck in third? Think about what is at stake here... the meet is starting with an event that will give the media big reason to get behind Michael Phelps and talk about how he got back in the water just in time to train back to greatness, or to stick a fork in him and make us suffer through a week of coverage talking about how he is struggling and won't be able to carry the Americans to glory. The entire media dialogue for the trials could be at stake, and it might cause the all the non-swimmers out there watching the national coverage to jump on the Lochte bandwagon from the first final on. So do I want to see Michael get third in this one? Nah... and I certainly hope he doesn't scratch it. I just want to see how deep he can dig when the pressure is turned up on event #1 to make this Trials meet start off with an earth-shattering kaboom. I am sure he understands that there is a lot more than another Olympic team spot at stake and I am glad he is not avoiding the challenge. Plus, maybe if he does get third in this, the "motivation machine" will HULK OUT and go a 48 in the 100 fly for us.
|The breaststroke leg of the 400 IM... it's kind of like adding a sack race to the triathlon.|
DESANTIS!: It felt really strange bolding my name, putting it in italics, underlining it and then adding an exclamation point, but Viking did it so I felt pressured to follow. My most anticipated race is the women's 50 free. It's fascinating to me from a historical standpoint. If Dara Torres makes it there will be two huge angles to view it from. The first, and most important angle is that Dara will cement herself as a once in a lifetime athlete in the sport of swimming. Are we ever again going to see a 47 year old woman mixing it up in the sprints at a world class level again? The idea is cool but unlikely. The second angle is somewhat more pessimistic. It feels like we've almost lost a generation of female sprinters in this country. Dara's 25.1 entry time is incredibly impressive, but shouldn't our 20 somethings being blowing that away by now? Who knows, maybe one of them will. As my least favorite expression in swimming goes: "It's the 50, ANYTHING can happen".
GUS!: At the 2008 Olympic Trials, when Matt Grevers shocked the world, upset Ryan Lochte, and secured his Olympic roster spot in the men's 100m backstroke, I was running up and down the stairs high-fiving everyone I could see. It wasn't appropriate. I was there as "The Media." When you are part of The Media you are supposed to be Objective and Un-Biased. But since I was there to do "Chlorination" and bloggy types of columns and I was 25 years old I figured all of that exempted me from typical requirements of The Media. I ran backstage and hugged more people with the enthusiasm of a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I called friends and coaches and family members. But my favorite moment was when I talked to Northwestern coach (both coach of me and Grevers) Bob Groseth via cell phone when Bob was with Matt in the warm-down pool. It was just one of those special kinds of moments you share, one of those magical types of moments that can only happen at the Olympic Trials. I could hear him smiling. I could hear him winded. I could hear him excited. It was one of those transcendent moments... we had known this guy since he first arrived on Northwestern's campus, and now he was this mature adult upsetting the heavy-weight favorites. It was special. I remember backstage my face was flushed, so I sat down and wiped my forehead and my hands were still tingling, thinking, "One of our own just shocked the world... one of my friends just shocked the world..." It was the closest I'd ever gotten to something as magical and momentous as that, and I'll never forget it. I'm rambling. I'm getting maudlin. OK. Let's just say that my race that I'm most excited to see is that men's 100m backstroke.
|I just thought Gus always acted like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Maybe it's just when he's around me.|
LISA! What race am I looking forward to the most? Well, as a swim fan it should surprise no one that it's the 400 IM. I know I'm not the only one. When the psych sheet was released my twitter feed blew up like I haven't seen since Michael Jackson died (in a perfect world big swim news would crash twitter as well.) "He's gonna swim it! Bob's making him! His mother's making him!" I don't care what the reason, he's going to swim it. Whether he swims it at the Olympics we don't know but I can tell you this race; Phelps vs Lochte 400 IM is the equivalent of a Michigan vs Ohio State, USC vs UCLA, Mizzou vs KU all rolled into one. This is the Bad Ass Event for the King's of Bad Ass.
Runner Up- Women's 50 Free. Why? Dara Torres. Age 47. She has abs, I don't. Fellow mom. Queen of Bad Ass. I hope she makes the team.