American swimmers thrive without Phelps
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - Agence France-Presse
Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte checks the scoreboard after swimming in the men’s 100m finals during the USA Swimming Championships.The US National Swimming Championships opened on June 25, the first for the sport without the legendary Michael Phelps since 1998.
Phelps, the winner of six medals (four gold, two silver) at the 2012 London Games, retired last year as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. The swimmers gathered at the Indiana University Natatorium re competing for berths on the United States team for this year’s World Championships in Barcelona, July 28-August 4. Do they feel any pressure to replace Phelps as the face of swimming in the US? “Absolutely not,” said Missy Franklin, a 2012 Olympic standout who won five medals (four gold, one bronze) in London.
“I think we have so many incredible team members and so many incredible swimmers in our sport right now. It’s an honor to be a part of it, and I feel like we all kind of carry that responsibility together.” Franklin, best known as a backstroker, won the women’s 100m freestyle on the opening night of the meet.
The 18-year-old from Colorado came from behind to win in 53.43. Her performance was a championship record and the year’s second-fastest time behind Australian Cate Campbell’s 52.83. “I’m so excited with that 100 time,” said Franklin, who is entered in six events at nationals but is still not sure about plans for Barcelona. “We’ll see what happens,” she said.