Superstars Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel aim to cement their Tokyo Olympics pressure berths Olympic Swimming Trials in the United States start on Sunday.
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Freestyle phenomenon Ledecky and star of several Dressel events make terrific references to the eight-day reunion in Omaha, Nebraska, where only a top-two spot can guarantee an individual race spot in Tokyo and a bad race can therefore be a heartbreak.
The tension was only exacerbated by the one-year delay of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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“I think the children are dying to run”, said Ray Looze, who coaches the Lilly King breaststroke.
He thought the overall times might be a bit slower than a typical test.
“If someone sets a world record, that’s a phenomenal accomplishment”, Looze said.
“But I think there are going to be world records that are going to fall because there have been people who have had to go through a lot and they really, really want it.”
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While competitions and even training were on hiatus for a while, Dressel shone with two short course world records in International Swimming League action in November.
In May, he clocked an impressive 51.15 in the 100m butterfly at a meeting in Atlanta. He was a far cry from his world record of 49.50 set in 2019, but Dressel said his long run times were heading in the right direction ahead of practice.
The 24-year-old is a competitor in the 50m and 100m freestyle as well as the 100m butterfly and will be a key contributor to the US relays.
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Since Rio in 2016 – where he teamed up with Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian in a gold medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay – Dressel has become a star adding 13 world titles to his resume.
He has competed in six events in Omaha and will likely spearhead the American challenge in the Tokyo pool now that Phelps – including all 28 Olympic medals including 23 gold – has left the stage.
This year’s trials mark the first time since 1996 that Phelps has not competed in an Olympic swimming trials in the United States.
Dressel says he doesn’t consider himself taking the Phelps coat.
“I don’t think it falls on my shoulders alone” he said.
For starters, there is Ledecky.
A crippling favorite over 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m freestyle, she holds world records in 400m, 800m and 1,500m freestyle.
The addition of the women’s 1,500 freestyle to the Olympic program gives her one more chance to add to her stash of five Olympic gold medals.
Rio medalists returning for another shot at Olympic glory also include 100 freestyle gold medalist Simone Manuel, King and bib Ryan Murphy.
Regan Smith, meanwhile, will look to form a first Olympic team after becoming a backstroke star with world records in the 100m and 200m in 2019.
At just 19, Smith has plenty of major competition experience under his belt to help him cope with the pressure cooker atmosphere of testing after a year in which his upward trajectory was interrupted by the pandemic. .
It remains to be seen if other fast but less seasoned teens will be able to do the same.
On the other end of the spectrum, 36-year-old Ryan Lochte will be looking to become the oldest male swimmer to qualify for a U.S. Olympic team.
Lochte still holds the world record in the 200m individual medley, but he set it in 2011 and needs to be a long way off to make a fifth Olympic team.
He owns 12 Olympic medals, but his Rio Games ended amid scandal when it was discovered he had made up a theft story during an episode of nighttime drunkenness in the Games’ host city Olympic.
He can expect a tall order from Chase Kalisz and Michael Andrew, the 22-year-old who established himself as a threat in several events with a run of searing times at the Indianapolis Pro Swim in May.
Anthony Ervin, who was 35 when he won gold in the 50m freestyle in Rio, is also back, trying to qualify for the Games at 40.
And Nathan Adrian, 32, gold medalist in the 100m freestyle in 2012, is aiming for a fourth Olympic Games after treatment for testicular cancer diagnosed in 2019.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-12 07:29:05