5 Captains for 2012 US Olympic Swim Team Revealed

  45 Braden Keith | July 11th, 2012 | Featured, London 2012 Olympics, National, News

Brendan HansenPeter VanderkaayRebecca Soni, Jason Lezak and Natalie Coughlin have been selected as the five Team USA co-captains headed into the London Olympics. The decision was announced on Wednesday night in Knoxville, Tennessee where the Olympic team is gathered for their pre-European training camp.

Hansen, Vanderkaay, and Coughlin are all headed for their third Olympic appearances, and Soni, one of the United States’ strongest picks for gold, is going into her 2nd.

Even squads like the Olympic Team, together for just a few weeks these captains play vital roles. Each member of the team is coming from a situation where they are a top-dog, and somehow in just a month they must gel together into a cohesive unit. With all of the pre-Olympic tension, captains are often responsible for keeping the team relaxed and quelling any fires that might smolder between athletes who must simultaneously support each other and compete against each other if they hope to bring home the ultimate Olympic glory.

This Olympic captains lineup is demonstration that more goes into being a captain than simply winning the most medals or being entered in the most events. Coughlin and Lezak, for example, will swim only a single race each (the 400 free relay), but are two of the most respected in the sport today. Vanderkaay similarly has only one entry for the Olympics, for now, but is one of the true gentlemen in the sport of swimming. He’ll swim the 400 free, unless the U.S. coaches choose to put him on the 4×200 free relay – though he didn’t even final in the event at Trials.

Hansen will be swimming the 100 breaststroke and the 400 medley relay as his entries, leaving Soni as the only of the five captains headed into the meet as a favorite to win a gold medal – she could win 3, in the 100 breast, the 200 breast, and 400 medley relay.

But these five swimmers have near-unanimous respect in the team. They represent every region of the country, and almost all of the top American programs. They’ve been on a number of teams, have had unprecedented success and even the glorious ceremony of the Olympics is old-hat to them by now.

All-in-all, it’s hard to argue with any of these choices. Onward to London.

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45 Comments on "5 Captains for 2012 US Olympic Swim Team Revealed"


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Micah
4 years 1 month ago

Congrats to all but I count 5.

Caitlin
4 years 1 month ago

There’s 5 people listed though?

Daaaave
4 years 1 month ago

Woulda picked Shanteau over Hansen.

jim
4 years 1 month ago

Why? Hansen’s been on numerous Gold Medal Medley relays (and world record relays), was a part of the 8th gold medal of phelps’ relay, has tremendous leadership skills, and is a team player. That’s not to say Shantau isn’t any of those things, but I think swimmers of all ages will relate to Hansen a little better than Shantau.

ECHOS MYRON
4 years 1 month ago

Shanteau doesn`t have the balls to be captain.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Do you have the balls to sign your real name to that, Troll??

Nancy Drew
4 years 1 month ago

He may not have the balls, but I’m sure Shanteau is not a dick like you are. Only a supreme dick would make fun of a cancer survivor. I don’t see you going to the Olympics either.

coacherik
4 years 1 month ago

The fab fibe! 😉

I guess I’m not surprised by the picks. In all the interviews Soni doesn’t strike me as a vocal leader but definitely comes across as a cool head. Too much going on for Phelps and Lochte to be considered for captains?

joeb
4 years 1 month ago

anyone else surprised Clary wasn’t picked? jk

other than Soni, not a lot of invidual medals in that group of leaders!

connor
4 years 1 month ago

shouldnt have to have medals to prove your ability to be a leader of the usa olympic team and swimming in general…

joeb
4 years 1 month ago

sorry that is what i was trying to say…you can be a leader without being the star

ZYNG43
4 years 1 month ago

Nothing to do with medals… The fact that he bashed one of the most important swimmers on team USA over the media…

Brenda
4 years 1 month ago

I hate the negative comments from people when these young athletes are all just trying bond and train without the distractions of those of us that don’t have anything better to do than paint a negative light on a group of wonderful representatives of our county. The work ethic of everyone of these swimmers would make then a worthy leader, but the 5 that were chosen have years of experience to help the others in the transition. You don’t have to have medals in your pocket to do that.

emily
4 years 1 month ago

five captains, announced not four. guess the guys were just too hard to choose from so they went with three not the usual two!

Lane4Marketing
4 years 1 month ago

Couldn’t be happier for Jason Lezak. The man is truly an ambassador for the sport and will serve his team and country well.Congrats to all captains. What a great group.

WHOKNOWS
4 years 1 month ago

Good choices!

Coughlin Fan
4 years 1 month ago

Excellent Pics.

I am still puzzled at what happened to my favorite swimmer Natalie at trials :(.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Re: Coughlin, initially she sounded somewhat puzzled herself, but then at the end of Trials or toward the end, I saw somewhere on here or elsewhere that she made a comment alluding to her training her hardest ever this year to make up for lost time over the quadrennium, implying a question of whether she had ovetrained, especially given that she is now at the age where she has to start increasing her recovery time. Grevers had earlier brought this up to explain his poor showing in 2010. Coughlin is not one to make excuses so there may be credence to it. She doesn’t always have a really huge taper and her in-season times didn’t progress this year as well as last year, either, so that would fit as well. Alot of us were nervous when we saw her relatively sluggish later-season times the last few months. Another possibility is focus; she seemed to be traveling alot for her work this past year, so mentally she may have been spread too thin, in addition to being physically more broken down.

The silver lining for Coughlin is that the relay comes early in the week and then she can relax and focus on her considerable captaining qualities which will really benefit the women’s team. All the captains sound like good choices from what I’ve seen. Tons of experience there combined with relatively lighter workloads compared with some of the other stars should result in some great quality captaining. I hope they all sit down with Clary and help him out!! 😉

WIWI
4 years 1 month ago

Re: Natalie… remember what happened with Jenny Thompson in 96, came in a favorite into the 96 trials, had a rough meet… qualified only on relays.
Then came through and crushed it on all 3 relays at the games.

aswimfan
4 years 1 month ago

The difference:
1. Jenny Thompson was at her peak in 1996, Coughlin is at end of her career
2. Jenny Thompson was favorite in her events going in to trials, Coughlin was not a favorite in her only event (Missy was).

jim
4 years 1 month ago

If you read Garrett Weber-Gale’s blog on athletic-foodie.com, you’ll see very similar explanation. He basically said he trained harder than ever these past 6 months, worked harder to get stronger than ever, and probably did not give himself the right amount of rest for the trials. It’s a risk for any swimmer to do something you’ve never done before in an Olympic year, but qualifying for the Olympics is so tough to do, these swimmers feel they have to train harder than ever. Coaches have to almost “guess” how the swimmer’s body will react to the training, and if they miss by a fraction on the taper, it could spell disaster. It soundsl ike Natalie and Garrett did the same thing.

jacksoe
4 years 1 month ago

Fact: throughout the swimming world coughlin was favored over missy by a close margin, but still favored and who is to say the end of a career. Darra Torres swam the best of her life at 41 and Jason Lezak also at the last olympics at 32. These two swimmers also posted fastest relay splits EVER(regardless of age) in the womens and mens 4 by 100 free relay.

WHOKNOWS
4 years 1 month ago

Listen to her interviews the months leading up to the trials. She was making remarks about the trials being so late, that there was so much pressure during trials. The way she was responding in the interviews did not show a lot of confidence in my opinion…. Alot of the national teams between 2008 and 2012 were selected one year in advance of the major competition. I am not so sure that was necessarily the right decision… I see that next year there will be a World Trials meet about 3-4 weeks before the World Championships. (much like this year)

Anon.
4 years 1 month ago

Agreed with Jacksoe 100%.

Additionally, Coughlin qualified first through prelims and semis in Shanghai last summer and only missed the gold medal by a hair (59.15). She was still the favorite.

Calfan
4 years 1 month ago

Solid choices. I’m hoping that all 6 of our relays can step up and put up some great finishes. The 4×100 free

Calfan
4 years 1 month ago

Solid choices. I’m hoping that all 6 of our relays can step up and put up some great finishes. The 4×100 free relays are obviously our biggest challenges and let’s hope that everyone can get faster. I know that at NCAA’s the vibe is very energetic and most teams gel pretty well, just like some teams get really fired up at their conference championships but I don’t know if the Olympics take that approach because swimming is still considered an individual sport at this type of setting…the whole team concept is missed since team/country scoring is not needed and that why I like the relays so much- its really the only time the team/country performs together.

drdov
4 years 1 month ago

Two captains barely made this trip by the skin of their teeth, weird that they now captains
In soccer the captain’s always the strongest player
I would’ve made Phelps, Lochte and Franklin captain

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Phelps, Lochte, and FRanklin are going to be too busy and exhausted.

Tea
4 years 1 month ago

Franklin is 17, and this is her first Olympics. You want the elder statesmen who’ve been through this before. Phelps seems to not have the strongest rapport with everyone on the team. Lochte might be good, but again… these guys are racing practically every session. They don’t have a lot of down time to talk to the younger swimmers and boost everyone’s spirits.

Precious
4 years 1 month ago

Being a captain isn’t about being fast, it’s about being a leader. I think all the captain’s are phenomenal choices and wish them the best of luck

Lane4Marketing
4 years 1 month ago

Agree 100%

duckduckgoose
4 years 1 month ago

Chipper Jones wasn’t an All Star this week based purely on his current stats. Bryce Harper has much more upside now than Chipper, but Jones was the player selected to address the NL team before the game to provide provide perspective, inspiration, and context to the younger players. This is an extremely young US team and the first timers can gain from the wisdom of their elders. Natalie Coughlin was better in 2008, partly because of the insight she gained from watching the end of Jenny Thompson’s storied and distinguished career in 2004. Hopefully Missy and Katie Ledecky can similarly benefit and lead and inspire younger olympians in the future.

beachmouse
4 years 1 month ago

Provided she stays healthy, Franklin’s time as international team will come. By all accounts, she’s already an excellent motivator with great positive energy and seems to have a lot of leadership potential. Captain is just not an honor that goes to a 17 year old rookie.

miws
4 years 1 month ago

When it comes to the US swim team, I think that being a captain has way more to do with experience, maturity, and character away from the pool. They picked good leaders.

Neptune
4 years 1 month ago

Second that. Great choices.

John C 30
4 years 1 month ago

Im surprised about Hansen actually…Yes he’s been there before, but he seems to me a little too full of himself, i.e., a few too many , “i’m proud of MYSELF” comments. I would’ve liked Grevers in his spot.

LaneDeChampion
4 years 1 month ago

Probably why Lochte isnt captain as well. He is a nice guy though

Matt E
4 years 1 month ago

They picked team people to be captains…some of the above mentioned are too selfish to be captain…i.e. Phelps

WHOKNOWS
4 years 1 month ago

I don’t remember Phelps ever saying he wanted to be team captain. His leadership is shown by what he does in his races!

ECHOS MYRON
4 years 1 month ago

Cute consolation prize for Vanderlaay, Lezak, and Coughlin. It`s not like they will have much else to do in London besides “playing captain.”

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

They won’t be “playing” captain, they ARE the captains. Are you bitter because you never made an Olympic team and won Olympic golds like they did? Or is it just because you were never respected enough to be captain of anything??

ECHOS MYRON
4 years 1 month ago

I was involved in the making of the original Captain Planet in the 90s, fool. And everyone knows that being the captain of what is largely an individual sport is no great distinction. The top swimmers will look for advice from their coaches, not some guy who will need to go all-out in the 400m prelims just to make it to the next round.

Maybe Coughlin`s role as captain will consist of preparing baked goods for the team so they don`t get food poisoning from the British cuisine.

liquidassets
4 years 1 month ago

Nice try, bitter guy. Even your lame jokes can’t hide your envy and cluelessness.

Nigel Tufnel
4 years 1 month ago

Echos Myron – Bob Pollard is embarrassed by your comments herein. Troll indeed: be positive and make constructive comments especially if using a GbV reference.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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