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Ask an expert: Swimmers to watch

Posted by Staff  July 24, 2012 09:15 AM

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johnson_head.jpg Editor's note: Jeff Johnson is one of four Olympic experts volunteering to assist in our coverage of the London Games. Johnson has more than 30 years of coaching experience and is a three-time Boston Globe high school swimming coach of the year. Ask him a question here.

The 2012 Olympic swimming team just finished up its preparation for the London Olympics in France and the athletes are now moving into the Olympic Village.

New England has two Olympic hopefuls in Alex Meyer in the 10K-meter open water (coached by Harvard coach Tim Murphy, who is also one of the Olympic coaches) and Rhode Island native Elizabeth Beisel (coached by Chuck Batchelor, Bluefish Swim Club), who will compete in the 200m backstroke and the 400m indivual medley.

The majority of US Olympic swimmers are in their mid- and late-20's. There are only a few teenagers on the team.

Women to watch

Missy Franklin one of the youngest members on the Olympic team and still in high school. She has the fastest times in the world in the 100m and 200m backstroke, her best event. She is also in the 200m and 400m free and two relays (400 and 800) and could medal in all events.

Allison Schmitt, who trains with Bob Bowman, who is Michael Phelps' coach, is in the 200m and 400m free. She has put up some nasty swims in these two events.

Rebecca Soni competes in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. Rebecca has been one of the top swimmers for the last four years in these events.

Men to watch

Ryan Lochte is going head to head with Phelps in two events: the 200m and 400m IM, which that should be very interesting to watch. It will come down to a good finish. Lochte is also in the 200m free and 200m back. He will be hard to beat in those two events.

Cullen Jones races in the 50m and 100m freestyle. He previously swam on the Olympic team in Beijing.

Matt Grevers is in the 100m backstroke. He also swam in Beijing, and is one of the best in the world.

Michael Phelps. I left Phelps for the end; it is obvious that he is the best swimmer in the world. He has worked for many years, as all the swimmers who do enormous meters to get enough background to compete at that level. Phelps competes in the 200m and 400m IM, which is very grueling, 100m and 200m butterfly (also grueling) and relays. Phelps is the one to beat.

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