WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 24, 2013
For five days, swimming will return to the national spotlight when U.S. swimmers try and qualify for next month’s World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
Ever since the 2012 London Olympics, swimming slipped below the radar when it came to mainstream national headlines despite several competitive Grand Prix meets and rising superstars.
The Phillips 66 National Championships, which will also serve as world trials, begin Tuesday in Indianapolis with a star-studded lineup at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Olympic gold medalists Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte are among thirty members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team vying for national titles and U.S. roster spots. Nathan Adrian, Tyler Clary, Matt Grevers, Katie Ledecky, Cullen Jones, Allison Schmidt, Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy head a field of more than 500 swimmers.
With Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Soni taking a break, the breaststroke events are wide open.
Swimmers must finish in the top two to earn an individual spot on the U.S. team for Barcelona. The four highest finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles will make the U.S. team for relay help and the winner in each of the non-Olympic events will qualify.
After worlds (July 19-Aug. 4), Lochte plans on moving from Gainesville, where he has lived and trained for nearly twelve years.
“I just need a different atmosphere,” Lochte said. “I’m going to be traveling. Australia, Japan, China. Who knows where I will be?
“As much fun as everything was, I had to stop everything and get back into the pool,” Lochte said. “I’m still an Olympic swimmer. There’s other goals that I have in mind in the sport of swimming that I haven’t accomplished yet.”
Lochte has made it clear that Florida coach Gregg Troy will remain his coach and will continue to do his workouts as well as connect him with coaches around the world that share in Troy’s philosophy.
The meet will also mark the first time in more than ten years that Michael Phelps will not compete at a national championship.
Despite rumors swirling that Phelps will return before the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the 18-time Olympic gold medalist officially retired after the 2012 London Olympics. Lochte is one of several swimmers who truly believe Phelps will be back.
Several Florida Gold Coast swimmers are entered including Isabella Paez and Carlos Omana of Metro Aquatics, Emily Kopas of Shark Aquatics, SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver of Club Seminole, Jana Mangimelli of Gulliver Swimming, Clara Smiddy and Sam Smiddy of AK Sharks.
Arena will be outfitting the national team for world championships.
World Trials On TV
NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports will televise seven hours of the June 25-29 USA Swimming Phillips 66 National Championships in Indianapolis, which are also serving as the World Championship trials for the U.S. team.
The schedule is: Tuesday, June 25, 6-8 p.m., Universal; Wednesday, June 26, 6-8:30 p.m., Universal; Saturday, June 29, 1-2:30 p.m., NBC and 11 p.m.-midnight, NBC Sports Network.
USA Swimming will also offer a live webcast of the entire meet on its website, prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org