Will the USA dominate Olympic Swimming in RIO?
The United States has built yet another strong roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics. There are many first time Olympians, but of course many familiar faces such as Katie Ledecky, Allison Schmitt, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and none other than Michael Phelps. Despite this, the US still will have to battle against many other countries for the medals. Ledecky is a sure winner in the 400 and 800 freestyles, she is the most dominant female swimmer in the world in these events. Also, she will be joined by Leah Smith in both of these events, where 2 medalists are possible. They will be joined by Franklin and Schmitt in the 800 freestyle relay, where they are in a great position to dominate ad well. Franklin has been fairly quiet lately, but it seems likely that she will be up for a battle for the bronze or silver medals in the 200 backstroke. She will also be racing Ledecky in the 200 freestyle, where Ledecky is also a gold medal favorite. The breaststroke events seem like they will boast at least 1 US medalist in Lilly King. In the 100 butterfly, Dana Vollmer and Kelsi Worrell both seem to have a long shot for gold, but could take silver and bronze. Elizabeth Beisel might be able to sneak on to the podium with Maya in the 400 IM. On the men's side, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are a point of at least 1 medal in the 200 IM, and Phelps will likely capture gold in the butterfly events as well. Nathan Adrian will most likely appear on the podium in one of the sprint freestyle events, possibly joined by Caleb Dressel or Anthony Ervin. Kevin Cordes will look to try to take the gold in the breaststroke events, which may come with a world record. Ryan Murphy is looking dominant in the backstroke events, which may be another shot at gold and world records for the US. Overall, this summer is looking good in all aspects. I personally predict Franklin to upset for gold in the 200 back, Smith to take Ledecky down in the 400 free, and Phelps to dominate the butterfly events. Those are bold predictions, I know, but I think that what happens in Rio will suprise everyone.
It's an interesting question and you point out the strong standout swimmers on the U.S. team and the potential for a great medal haul this go round. I think three things are different then London: 1) the Australian team is MUCH improved from London where they had a historically bad Games -- so they will put a dent in U.S. medals 2) Missy F still appears to be below the top of her game while Ryan L is also notch lower than his 2012 self; tough to overcome 3) There are some incredibly dominant multi-event performers internationally heading into Rio like Hosszu and Sarah Sjöström. will be interesting to track medal count for u.S. team!