Once upon a time, Team USA was the powerhouse of world swimming. The men, the women – they could easily meet any opposition and come out on top.
It’s about halfway through the 2015 FINA World Championships and Team USA are currently second on the medal tally. Trouble is, they’ve set the bar so high in past years that this isn’t even near their best, believe or not.
Michael Phelps may be at home serving his DUI suspension, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the guys shouldn’t shine. If anything, this is their chance at the spotlight.
Ryan Lochte has a swag of Olympic and World medals, and records (not to mention actual swag - I’m a Lochtenator and always will be). However, despite his new strict and rigorous training regime, it took him a little longer than usual to make the podium. But at least he has now.
Nathan Adrian, Cullen Jones, Connor Dwyer, Matt Grevers, Anthony Ervin and Lochte usually make up some permutation of the perfect relay team for heats and finals. But to the shock of fans everywhere, they’ve failed to make a final, though they still have a couple more chances in the coming days.
Missy Franklin is usually the star of her events, but then again, she’s been plagued with injuries since last year. It’s safe to say she would be on the podium a lot more if she were 100 per cent well.
USA’s hopes currently lie in 18-year-old Katie Ledecky, who already holds the world record for the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle. She’s on her way to becoming the first person to sweep golds in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500.
There are still 24 medals up for grabs and the Americans can still cover lost ground. Lochte has a strong chance of securing titles in his pet events and both the men’s and women’s relay teams should technically make the podium.
While it’s not strange that Australia are amongst their biggest rivals, it’s unusual that Great Britain is leading the way at these Worlds. But USA just needs to push that little bit harder and they should be back to their old winning selves just in time for Rio.
Come on USA! You got this… don’t cha?