Katie Ledecky & Michael Phelps Lead USA Hopes at Helm Of Rio Olympic Squad Of 47

Michael Phelps in Omaha at USA Olympic Trials in pursuit of more glory in Rio at a fifth Games - by Matthew Bish - Bold Action Media

Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps head a 47-member USA Olympic swimming team for the Rio 2016 Games – swimming starts August 6. For Phelps, Brazil will make it five times round the rings, his medal chances including the 100m butterfly and 200m medley, the races in which he will seek to become the first swimmer ever to win the same event at four consecutive Games. He will also race the 200m butterfly, in which he claimed silver behind Chad le Clos (RSA) at London 2012.

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Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps head a 47-member USA Olympic swimming team for the Rio 2016 Games – swimming starts August 6. For Phelps, Brazil will make it five times round the rings, his medal chances including the 100m butterfly and 200m medley, the races in which he will seek to become the first swimmer ever to win the same event at four consecutive Games. He will also race the 200m butterfly, in which he claimed silver behind Chad le Clos (RSA) at London 2012.


kevin roose

Well after watching with great interest the American Trials if your are a supporter of Australian swimming you would feel some what optimistic about medal prospets Rio.
Prior to the American meet Australia held 9 number one fastest times Olympic Events this year…
Aswimfan made the comment he expected Australia to loose a third of those spots when in fact Australia only lost 1 100 Back Larkin to Plummer ..
Holding onto eight fastest times 2016 …..
100 Free Mcevoy
400 Free Horton
200 Back Larkin
50 Free Campbell
100 Free Campbell
200 Fly Groves
100 Back Seebohm
200 Back Seebohm
While i appreciate its on the day that counts it certainly leads to much optimism……

Craig Lord

Indeed. Meets are won on gold count not overall medals. Realistic to think of Australia taking between 7 and 10 golds; same for the USA. As you suggest, Kevin: down to the day – or in this case the NBC night.

kevin roose

While on the flip side America picked up an additional three fastest times at the trials;
Plummer 100 Back
Prenot 200 Breast
King 100 Breast ……….

Its shaping up as the most open Olympics ever in the pool in terms of spread of medals…..which is great for the sport …….


kevin roose,
I said that based on the average of past results, Australia may win number of golds around half of their no.1 ranking going into the olympics, including the relays. I think I also said that Australia will have 10 no.1 ranking after the conclusion of US trials.

Let’s see AUS current #1:
100 Free Mcevoy
400 Free Horton
200 Back Larkin
50 Free Campbell
100 Free Campbell
200 Fly Groves
100 Back Seebohm — TIE with Mie Nielsen
200 Back Seebohm
w4x100 free
w4x100 medley (right now I am giving AUS this, although in reality it’s tie with USA)

I don’t think this will change unless there’s some extraordinary result from German Open. So, going into Rio, Australia is ranked #1 in 10 events.
Therefore, conservative prediction is for Australia to win 5 golds. Anything less is a disappointment, and anything more is excellent.


It will be hard for Rio to beat Beijing and London in terms of spread of medals:
Beijing: 19 countries won medals, 14 of them won gold
London: 19 countries won medals, 9 of them won gold.

Tony McKinnon

It is going to be a very interesting tussle for top nation at Rio. Consider World Rankings:
Top spot – USA 9, Australia 10
Top three spots- USA 28 Australia 22
Relays men – 4×100 France, Australia, USA
4×200 USA, Australia, UK
4×100 Med USA, Australia, France
Women- 4×100 Australia, Netherlands, USA/China
4×200 USA, Australia/China
4×100 Med Australia, China, USA
Questions to be answered as the events unfol – Can the US swimmers hold their tapper?
Can Australia finally over come its chronic problem of failing to peak the majority of swimmers at an Olympics?


If past Olympics any indication, USA will improve on the number of their no. 1 rankings while Australia will have less. There’s always exception, but we’ll see.


Tony I Find unlikely that France men even final on medley relay in Rio (Their breast legs are terrible this year)


My take on the US trials was that times were generally better than expected. We saw lots of of new talent. Virtually all those who made their first Olympic team did a PB. There was quality and depth and only in the women’s 50FS, 100FS and 200BS does it look as though the USA is out of the medals frame. As for the relays, the USA looks as though it can win 3 or 4. In terms of probabilities I would put it as follows:

Very likely: W4X200 FS
Probable: M4X200 FS, M4X100 MR
Too close to call: W4X100 MR
Unlikely: M4X100 FS
Very unlikely: W4X100 FS


You and I are essentially reading from the same sheet, Longstroke and your use of that word “probability” is music to my ears LOL. Whilst some outcome may, of course, be possible; one needs to ask that extra question; how LIKELY is that – does the probability stack up ?

Whilst there are a few other events where medal chances look more “outside” than likely; those are the 3 events where they look realistically out of the picture.

As to the relays, my read is esse
ntially the same although I’d move the M 4XMED up to very likely as it would realistically require self destruction (a break) for them not to win.


My ranking of AUS No1 rankings on scale of probability

Very likely (would need relay break or illness/injury to derail): W4X100, C1 W50free, C1 W100free

Strong favourite: McEvoy M100free

Narrow favourite: Larkin M200back, Seebohm W100back

Lineball/slightly shaded favourite: W4XMED, Seebohm W200back (although Hocking actually ranked 1)

Strong possibility but downgraded due to major question mark: Horton M400free

Unlikely: Groves W200fly

My overall assessment lines up with ASF. History tells us that the percentage of Aussies that can “peak” twice a year is not as high as we would hope.

If I were to be extremely conservative; I would say 3 golds. Conservative – up that to 4. My “realist” figure would be 5-6. If they were to collect 7 or more, we are liable to be seeing Jaco doing the “happy dance” on the pool deck. Ten ….. I suspect he’d be leading the parade at next year’s Rio Carneval !!


While not disagreeing with you CW & ASF, the Australian team also provides a surprise or 2.
The W4x100 relay in London & Katie Hoff was suppose to to a Phelps in Bejing, but Stephanie Rice spoilt the party.

So watch out for 1 or 2 unexpected gold medals to go with 5-6 golds from the favourites.

Unexpected possibilities;
Larkin 100 back
McEvoy 50 free
M4X200 Free
Horton 1500
McKeon 100Butt or 200Free
McKown 200Breast
M4x100 free


CW, if we win 10 golds, I think I would join Jakco in the lead parade at Carneval next year.


Rob, very fair points but at this point, the discussion was working within the context of those who were rated No1 in their events.

Of those you have listed, I would rank them as follows:

Larkin: high liklihood of medal, reasonable chance of gold so I wouldn’t really classify him as an “Unexpected Possibility”

McEvoy: good potential medal chance but not quite at probable level

M4X200: possible medal but history of this relay + some iffy performers has me shying away from marking them probable. IF all the planets are in alignment, they could win

M4X100: as per M4X200

Horton: strong potential medal but memories of Kazan make me hesitant to grade him up to probable medal. outside chance of gold

McKeonE: minor medal chance in both but she would most likely need at least 0.5sec PB in each to be in that frame therefore have her as outside chance

McKeown: not without minor medal possiblities in W200brs. Performedly admirably internationally in 2014 (both CG & PP) but imploded badly in Kazan. Her 2016 signs HAVE been positive. Outside medal chance.

Yes, there always are “bolters” just as there will be those who fall in a head; some of the latter will be predictable ones whilst others will be those whose previous records were positive.

Re Rice & Beijing; whilst Hoff had taken back 400IM WR, Rice went in as at least 2nd money. Also went in as reigning WR holder in 200IM


Seeing as I’m feeling inordinately brave, I may as well give my very rough read on US prospects per event

M50free: strong medal chance, possible Gold

100free: likely medal, not without chance of Gold

200free: race is a lottery, possible medals but hard to classify anyone as a likely medallist

400free: outside medal chance

1500free: good medal chance, maybe just shy of “likely”

100back: narrow favourite for Gold, strong liklihood of 2 on podium

200back: likely medal, possible Gold

100brs: reasonable possibility of medal

200brs: narrow favourite for Gold. likely medal some possibility of 2

100fly: likely medal. prob favourite for Gold

200fly: likely medal, narrow favourite for Gold albeit not the probable it has been in the past

200IM: likely medal x 2. exc possibility for Gold but much like 200fly

400IM: likely medal, possible Gold

4×100: strong medal chance with some Gold possibilities but neither outcome can be seen as probable]

4×200: Gold favourites albeit not the bankable certainties they have been in the past

4xMED: Very likely Gold. would need major illness/injury or a break not to win


50free: medals unlikely

100free: medals unlikely

200free: very likely medal and favourite for gold albeit not the certainty many were thinking initially. very outside chance of 2nd medal

400free: near certain Gold, very possible 2nd medal

800free: as per 400free re Gold, outside chance of 2nd medal

100back: very outside chance of medal

200back: event currently resembles a lottery. Previously one US would’ve considered a lock for Gold, now looking more outside medal

100brs: current Gold favourite albeit not prohibitive one. outside chance of 2nd medal

200brs: medals unlikely

100fly: likely minor medal

200fly: reasonable medal chance but not at probable level

200IM: as per 200fly

400IM: likely minor medal

4×100: likely minor medal, would require misfortune to others plus planetary alignment to win Gold

4×200; very likely Gold

4xMED” very likely medal with strong Gold possibilities. would classify as narrow 2nd money in this event


CW, but my point being that yes all these are not favourites for their events they have the opportunity, same as those swimmers that may or may not beat Seebohm, she is clear favourite for both 100 & 200 back. Yes the likes of Neilsen in 100 & Hosszu in 200 has the chance so has McEvoy in 50, Larkin in 100, the 4×200. They are not favourites but they have every chance of an upset as does the likes of Neilsen, Hosszu against Seebohm.

With Larkin, I included him because he was not in the top rank discussion.

My intention being that we may only get 5-6 golds from those ranked no1. there is also every chance that those just outside of the ranking of no 1 may also win 1 gold or 2 to push our gold tally up to 7-8-9.


You called Australian w4x100free gold in London is a surprise. Maybe most people predicted the Netherlands but I had predicted Australia based on the times set early that year and potentials.

Those who frequented the discussions at speedendurance blogspot between 2011-2010 knew about this. In the discussions I gave my reasons: following the 2012 Australian trials, AUS not only had easily the most depth (most swimmmers under 54) compared to the Netherlands and USA, but also had the two pointed sticks: Schlanger and Campbell. I also stated that Netherlands relay was risky because they only had exactly 4 elite sprinters, there was a huge gap to the 5th. So of course when one of their sprinters (inge dekker) had an off swim, it was bye bye to gold. Current Netherlands situation has not improved. If all their four legs firing in Rio, they’ll get silver, but if just one swimmer has on off day, it’s USA all the way for silver.
Of course before London I had also predicted Magnussen and m4x100 free to win golds. Which was a bust.


Re W4X100 in London, NED went in as favourite but there were clear indications that this team was weaker than they had been in Beijing. Whilst Kromowidjojo was on the rise, the likes of Veldhuis & Schreuder were on the wane meaning the cover for the perennial weak link (Dekker) had gone.

Rob, I have no argument that we MAY see some of those marked as 2nd money, minor medal chances step up. However, how PROBABLE do we see those mays ?

This is how I read their chances at this point, on the score of probability

50free: strong medal possibility although not to the level of probable
100free: Gold favourite, at minimum likely medal
200free: race is a lottery, possible medal
400free: strong medal possibility with Gold prospects however question marks at World level
1500free: similar to 400free albeit lesser Gold prospects
100back: probable medal with good Gold possibility
200back: narrow Gold favourite, near certain medal
100brs: unlikely, do well to final
200brs: no competitor
100fly: less than unlikely
200fly: as per 100fly
200IM: no competitor
400IM: final =ceiling
4×100: medal chance albeit not secure enough to say probable. outside Gold chance
4×200: as per 4×100



4XMED: likely medal

50free: strong Gold favourite, v outside chance of 2nd medal
100free: even stronger favourite than 50free, high possibility of 2nd medal
200free: conceivable minor medal possibility
400free: conceivable minor medal possibility’
800free: strong minor medal possibility’
100back: Gold favourite albeit not impregrable, near certain medal. outside chance of 2nd medal
200back: event is a lottery. narrow Gold favourite. likely one medal outside chance of 2nd medal
100brs: outside chance of minor medal
200brs: conceivable minor medal possibility
100fly: conceivable minor medal possibility
200fly: medal possibility even Gold but strong doubts about capacity to perform in this arena
200IM: medal unlikely
400IM: medal unlikely
4×100: near certain Gold
4×200: concievable minor medal
4xMED: narrow Gold favourites, likely medal at min


ASF & CW yes I agree & fully appreciate your great wealth of knowledge of swimming.
I was just providing another point of view in regards that if other countries can upset Australian No1s, we have swimmers in the same position to do likewise.


Both Larkin & Seebolm has proved to be the best 100 & 200 Backstrokers in the world in the last 18 months & have not seen anything this year to dismiss this theory. Larkin probably has the greater threats & is fully aware of this, he expected the Americans to break 100B WR are their trials. His training is gearing to go faster.
Now I do not know their strategies/plans, but both after continued to swim brilliantly even after the world champs last year, even in Larkin’s case a PB.
Now, neither swimmers swam at their best at the Aussie trials, did they have too, Larkin was well in advance of the next best backstroker & Seebolm’s training partner was the 3rd best backstroker in country. So in your own words CW, maybe they decided not to peak twice this year, just once. They planned to swim out of Aussie season to be ready for RIO.
The big worry for Emily was Franklin, but as shown at her trials, she is not the swimmer of 2012/13. Now, they both may be beaten in RIO, but to me they go in favourites, but just as they can be beaten, so can other favourites by other Aussies.


Rob, DID Seebohm or Larkin fully taper for AUS Trials or not ?? We cannot know either way. Larkin was assured of qualification in both whereas Seebohm was near certain but not fully assured in the 100 given Atherton was possibly closing in on sub59 (as it turned out she didn’t).

How do I read Larkin’s situation ? TBH, he was technically untidy in both races (“wandering around his lane” in both ) so I see that he certainly has significant upside in both races IF he tidies that up.

As I’ve said a couple of times; if he swims like he did at Trials then he’ll be beaten especially in the 100. If he has it together like he did in Kazan/post Kazan; he should win 200 and very possibly both.

Both very possible Golds but neither could realistically be classified as probables therefore I put it on a lower tier than W4X100,C1 or even McEvoy

Seebohm was essentially untouchable over 100 last year and consolidated herself as a potential double gold over 200. However, for whatever reasons she hasn’t been quite at that level this year. Maybe she is taking a different approach this year but we cannot know that. Not sure she was planning to get rolled in the 200 at Trials.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still been damned excellent but neither has she been sending a signal to her competition “sorry ladies but I own this and you’re playing for my scraps”

Franklin was the main perceived threat for 200 but her 100 much less so. Nielsen is very much thereabouts at 100 and Hosszu could be extraordinarily dangerous over both distances.

I see her as the definite fave over 100 and probable favourite at 200 but whilst both highly possible Golds, the competition is sufficiently tight to make me wary of classing them as likely or probable much as I want to.


CW, I’m sure they did taper, no reason not to, but the question was did they put the work in or are they waiting to peak in 1 month’s time & hence, put the effort in for the Olympic meet. Hence why Seebohm didn’t have her endurance to hold off Hocking!!!!

Again I think we on the same boat, but taking different options to get there.


As mentioned CW, Atherton is her swimming partner, swims with her everyday, so she knew what she needed to do, why peaked twice in the year of the olympics when you don’t need to.


Ah Rob, I mentioned Atherton in the context that she had the potential to break what had been thought as a guaranteed Seebohm/Wilson scenario.

As it was, the 200 broke very unpredictably. Hocking was on the way back but nothing she’d shown on the way in suggested a 2.06. Wilson had dropped in a 2.07low earlier in the season which suggested she may be a player but she disappointed at Trials. Atherton wasn’t the factor many expected her to be yet Whittaker was.

Plenty of questions and we can certainly paint a number of credible scenarios to fit differing views. I don’t claim to know; all I can work off is the hard evidence of her 2016 form and gauge it against her competition

Had you asked me late last year for a “call” on Seebohm;s prospects; I’d have been more bullish maybe even at “likely” gold at 100. I still see her as an extraordinarily strong “possibility” of Gold at 100 and a reasonable possibility at 200.

Its just that, on the evidence of her 2016 performances AND her competition being much closer, there is fair reason to feel that win is less likely than previously thought rather than a lack of belief that she can win.


I think we’ve veered away too much from the gist of the head article.

How do I look at this US team ? Lets be real, have we ever seen a weak US Olympic swimming team ? Barring decimation by illness (which would most likely have the same effects on their competition; USA will top both the gold medal tally and the overall medals …..daylight second.

Is the strongest US squad I’ve ever seen ? Frankly no. Take out Ledecky and we have no other definitively dominant US female on the international scale. King MAY win the W100brs, the W4X200 are prohibitive favourites, the W4XMED COULD win gold …..its not unforseeable that a “bolter” may snatch an unexpected gold but realistically its minor medals in most cases

The US mens team has been top of the heap since Adam played half back for Jerusalem and this isnt going to change in Rio. They should bat 2 from 3 in the relays and I’m struggling to think of more than 3 events where they are less than likely or strong possibilities to medal.

However, whilst there has been a changing of the guard, it has been less than complete and the question many may be asking is “is this one campaign too many for certain great nigh legendary names ?”

Whilst it is foolish to write them off, and its indeed likely they will find some measure of success; fate is not always a sentimentalist and their one-time “invincibility” has diminished. I’m not sure it will be a completely “golden” Olympic exit for certain gents.

As to the new generation, some are looking distinctly formidable, others perhaps a little raw. Like any other team, there will be hits n misses.

The form strokes and medley remain very powerful. If there is a particular area which lags comparitively, its the freestyle where one is battling to see an outright gold favourite in any individual event.


I’ll accept that CW, like I said the route is different but we end up in the same place.

Seebohm was huge favourite after near WR in 2012 semis, believe her own & social media hype. This time she is bullish, not breaking any WR etc, if she swims to 2015 times or better, she will be hard to beat!!!!


Yes, its fair to say that she’s conquered a lot of those demons. She conclusively broke the Missy hoodoo, she’s much more professional and focused in training (both in and out of the pool) and seems much more mentally together. However, we’ ll get the definitive answer in little over a month.


Why is it that U.S.A have dominated swimming for so long and as yet no other country has their trials close to the olympics like the U.S. Australia will have some swimmers that will not even come close to their best time.

Craig Lord

Lynchy, I’d say its because the USA has accepted and mastered the following:
1. Simplicity and brutality of ‘natural selection’ void of the complexity of post-race calculation – winner goes and is instantly celebrated; second-place know they will go and have work to do and something to prove yet come the bigger moment.
2. Holding taper (for those who must); handling a stretch of summer speed in which the domestic event is the heats, the Games the final
The dynamics and depth of standard in many other nations make such a system of selection less workable/desirable, while most nations simply don;t have the depth to say ‘swimmer X was a bit off/sick/bad day so step forward swimmer Y with a strong chance of making the medals, too’ (that said, if the lessons of holding form over 4/6-week periods can be learned, there are good reasons for other nations to adopt more simple and fairer selection processes). American swimming is full of people who made the Games because they stepped up precisely when asked to do so in common with all others who had the same chance; world swimming is full of something quite different.


I can answer Lynchy re why AUS has the gap between Trials and the main events. Quite simply it boils down to our geographical location and therefore our seasons.

The AUS competitive season runs through summer and into early autumn. Whilst we COULD notionally move Trials to something akin to the US timing; we would then need to fully reschedule all other lead-up competitions and it would probably take a couple of years to “iron out” organisationally.

They have switched timing of Trials on a couple of of occaisons but these have been when AUS has been hosting the Worlds (1991 & 1998) where they were held late in the previous year.

Craig Lord

Yes, thanks for that clarity, CW. The switch of timing in trials because of calendar shifts has applied to several nations.

Dave Nicholson

Article is about the US team’s Trials. Entire comment section is about the Australian team’s prospects.

Two comments on the article. First, I’m not sure I agree that the presence of very rigorous time standards mean that somewhere like the UK has a “tougher” selection criteria. If that time standard had been applied in the US, I feel that Phelps would have prepared to hit it for example. Time doesn’t matter in Omaha, only placement does and the athletes train and taper with that in mind. Also, the mental strain of a pressure cooker like Omaha is simply unequalled anywhere else in the world. Secondly, I don’t feel that the time zone in Rio will be any advantage for US swimmers. Surely adjusting to Rio time is an easily solved problem for any major swimming nation worldwide.

Regardless of the strength of the US team vs previous cycles (which is debatable), I think this is a particularly fascinating US squad. With the exception of Ledecky (and perhaps Dirado), there’s no Phelps/Lochte/Franklin concentration of dominant, multi-event swimmers that raises the medal tally and obscures some weakness as has been the case over the past couple of cycles. It seems like this team spreads the swimming around a bit more that has been the case over the past two cycles. I don’t have a stat in mind to measure this and I could be wrong…

I was very happy to see lots of young talent make the team. It’s always exciting seeing a teenager swim a big meet, you never know what they’re going to do. Haas could swim a huge PB or he could flame out. Likewise King, Dressel, Weitzel etc. This will make the racing very exciting for me in Rio. US Swimming could mitigate some of the risk by providing some of these young athletes more international experience earlier. Not to dwell on a frequently covered topic, but it’s a shame that USS sent a bunch of grizzled vets to Kazan who apparently didn’t train or taper while a large group of promising younger swimmers who really could have used the experience sat at home or went to much smaller meets. Perhaps NCAA commitments would have interfered anyway but I still feel that this was an opportunity wasted.

Forward to Rio.


Sorry about that, Dave. When someone diverts a thread early on, it can be difficult to get it back on topic. We ARE a fairly international mix but there is a fair quota of Aussies/folk from this part of the world.

I tend to concur with your read and see it being especially evident with the US women. Outside of Ledecky there is no other individual who can be classified as “internationally dominant” and King looks the only other female American going in as favourite.

Certainly reasonable scope for minor medals and its not inconceivable one of those may have that ” one brief shining moment” where it all comes together …and they walk away with Gold. However, at this point we (and other fans/pundits) can only base off what we see as most likely outcomes.

There is certainly some very promising new blood in evidence on the male side, albeit still with a leavening of “grizzled veterans”. With the latter, its hard to know which side of the ledger they will fall. Will it be one campaign too many or going out whilst still on top ? I can’t help feeling we may both.

I DID put my “paw in the water” with my read on US medal prospects per event earlier in the thread. Feel free to criticise !

Craig Lord

Dave, I go on what swimmers and coaches tell me when talking about a time target they must achieve in order to be ‘sure’ of selection: the pressure is great and it affects some more than others. I don’t doubt that for a minute. US is, of course, more competitive than most in many events (by no means all, though that is the case in many events) but I think it unwise to compare one pressure cooker to another: Australian trials and the standards there, time and competitors in the mix, would have been just as tough. I think ‘US Trials is the biggest pressure cooker in world swimming’ (as I’ve read) overdone. There were events in Omaha in which you could take the top 2 away and find the bronze medallist at a pace well shy of what will be required to medal in Rio – and that goes for all nations. The time zone: that will all depend on who knew what when and what they did about it for how long to prepare for the moment. Some around the world will be racing in a wholly different time zone, while some will be within 2-3 hours of ‘normality’, even with night swimming. I read the evidence of scientists and conclude that there can be (doesn’t have to be) an impact. I think it fair to mention. I think the US in a solid state and ready to rumble in Rio – gaps bound to be a part of the picture, where they will appear reasonably easy to see but no Games ever pans out as predicted 🙂 Meanwhile, such articles are bound to raise the issue at hand – who will win medals, from wherever they may come, so, I feel we can forgive folk for letting their thoughts stray beyond the borders of Omaha 🙂


Quite frankly, am sick of hearing US swimmers say how hard and tough the trials are there, Its the same for everyone else, you will either qualify or you wont, The Olympics are something else, and if you think the trials are tough wait till you get to Rio!

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