Barcelona Bonanza Proof of Sport’s Bright Future

Missy Franklin [Photo: Aniko Kovacs]

The recent World Championships in Barcelona revealed the sport is in a good way, a perfect blend of talent and charismatic personalities propelling swimming into the future.

Want to read more? Our Basic subscription package allows you to access
to all articles barring specific content for Premium and Business
members. Select which service best suits you. Thank you for your
support of independent journalism and quality coverage of world-class swimming.

Log In Register

The recent World Championships in Barcelona revealed the sport is in a good way, a perfect blend of talent and charismatic personalities propelling swimming into the future.



Totally agree with your post 😉

I for one thought that michael retirement would be a bad thing for swimming but it seems like the opposite has happenned; A bit like Thorpe before Phelps … Some youngesters are ready to step up and be the stars of swimming !

Franklin is already a legend, whatever happens later in her career (and I hope it’s gonna be good), Ledecky is on the way for a golden future !! Rio will be incredible for both of them I think !! Ruta is a great breastroker but breastroke is less mediatic =( so she will be overshadowed by those two.

As for the men, I have a feeling Chad is gonna be the next future star !! ryan will more than probably retire after Rio and if Chad swims like he does he might be unbeatable in Fly in the future (he has so much ways to improve !).

While waiting for the swimmers to come out at the end of a session in Barcelona, everyone wanted an autograph of Missy, Ryan and Chad !! They have got this charisma and contact with their fans that many other good swimmers don’t have. So yeah I think the future of the sport is in good hands =) two new stars and an “old” one =)


Wow, that was a piece of writing which painted a positive picture of the state of swimming. Is the situation really that good? Of course I do hope so and when it comes to the competitive terms it certainly is so.

Anyway we have had our setbacks recently such as the absence of television coverage of the World Championships in Australia. I hope it is as stated on the article that a product is doing well since it will be easier to sell in the future. As for the figures in the world of swimming we are still lacking in an one type of character. We have the good guys and girls but we lack the villains. This wasn’t my comment but someone else mentioned it earlier. 🙂

I must admit that there were some positive surprises such as nice crowds in the final sessions. I had my doubts about such a huge arena.

What else? While reading the article I learned new words again: transpire, branch out, elicit, demeanor.


Thank you for this classic article on the state of the sport post-Barcelona. Richly expressed.

As the pace clock continues its sweep a year after Michael’s last hurrah in London, I continue to be amazed at the gargantuan feat he accomplished. I watch as the new ones up-and-coming enter into multiple events, swimming semi-finals and finals in one session, and marvel once again at how Michael Phelps churned so consistently during his career. Yes, I believe there will be others, having seen the seeming impossible made manifest, who will excel beyond their wildest dreams. Yet, Michael Phelps will have been the first one to do this, and that was his greatest desire to be the first to break such barriers.

Not knowing where else to put it, I will comment here on the intensity of our sport that the cameras never see. The fact that we have a year-round sport with short course, long course and, in some areas, short course yards back-to-back seasons with no stop can work as a double edge sword for our swimmers. The media can be merciless when the blood of a sensational story is in its jaws, without understanding of the pressures of this sport.

The growth of our sport by way of media exposure can shift a sincere athlete from swimming in the anonymity of a circle-swum swim lane into the fish bowl celebrity life seemingly overnight. To equip our athletes, and our teams, growth in character is to be valued right along side refinement of reaction times, stroke form, and ‘underwaters.’ With regard to the rhythms of life, elite swimmers and their coaches will hopefully, gracefully honor when a ‘sabbath’ is in order to eventually produce a lifestyle of character and ensuing genuine sportsmanship under the scrutiny of the media exposure that it takes to popularize the sport.

With all that said, I was so glad to see the amazing displays of charactered sportsmanship under the pressure of international competition at Barcelona. In the historic moments caught by worldwide media exposure I saw beautiful examples. I am sure there are many from each country as well as the US, but these two come to mind first. I think of the thoughtfulness of Katie Ledecky to contact Rebecca Addlington after breaking her record, and the humility of team captain Matt Greavers to publically share the responsibility of a failed relay exchange with a young man who was experiencing his first world champs meet, redeeming the moment to invaluably invest in a vulnerable teammate.

Yes, I also believe that we lack villains. Worldwide, may we continue to uphold the same value for deepened character that manifests as genuine sportsmanship, just as the bar of performance was set by the most decorated Olympian in history thus far.

We are on the road, in the swim, on Planet Water, going to Rio together!


I am in love with Missy and always will be, but does anybody else think that she is almost too happy and a bit fake with always smiling and laughing and saying same things in her interviews, etc? She is great for popularizing the sport but do others who have been swim fans for a while now agree with me on what I’ve picked up on her?

Craig Lord

I think John paints the picture that in all our hearts we wish to be true, to some extent is, heartily, true, but is also a surface image. As the first question you pose suggests, there are some deep-seated issues that need addressing. And more on that in the near future…


Chad le Clos has affability and really good looks.

Also, the new sprint queen, Cate Campbell, seems to be mould in the same vein of Franklin, cheerful without appearing conceited.

I agree, The state of swimming is bright!
(even in australia, which proved an improvement after London. Coverage will soon follow results Im sure)



Put that in context. Missy is still a teenager, only 18 years of age. Youngsters can be effervescent and keep reiterating themselves without being artificial. She is an excellent flag carrier of swimming in the Yankeeland; just like Cate Campbell is in Ozzieland.


Swimming also seems to be a relatively clean sport compared to many these days. Granted it’s not perfect- some of the Russians seem to be getting into their athletics stash of banned substances, and Brazil’s national federation needs to take better control of their elite athlete situation. But when you compare hard positives to other sports- Turkish track & field alone has 40+ active doping cases including athletes as young as 16-17 in addition to ongoing doping issues in Russia, Jamaica, and the USA; pro cycling is still trying to find its way back after the Lance Armstrong revelations, and American baseball has had a really bad past two weeks- swimming starts to look quite good in comparison.

Leave a comment

Post a comment with your SwimVortex Account. Don't have a SwimVortex Account, Sign Up?

(*) Fields are required!