Phelps: According to the Australian publication “The Australian,” (thanks to David “the Swim Geek” Rieder for the link), Bob Bowman announced Friday that Michael Phelps has dropped his ideas about swimming the 100 free at the 2012 Olympics because it clashes heavily with his best event, the 200 fly, that he has lost once in about the last decade (which was a few weeks ago at the Eric Namesnik Grand Prix). This puts to rest speculation over the past few months (years?) that Phelps had his eyes on testing his merits in the sprint freestyle on the biggest stage.
Likely, Phelps was snapped back to the reality a little bit when he finished 4th at the Namesnik, and hopefully this announcement will coincide with a severe uptick in his training focus ahead of Shanghai and, ultimately, London. The more interesting ramification of this decision is that it appears now that Phelps and the other biggest-name-in-swimming Ian Thorpe are now unlikely to meet at the Olympics, unless one or the other relents (Thorpe says that he will put all of his efforts on relays and the individual 100 free). That makes the potential of Phelps swimming at the Australian Summer Swim Series in January of 2012 that much more exciting and important.
2011 Nationals, Part two: An interesting note popped up recently on USA Swimming’s page for the 2011 Winter National Championships recently:
Note: As per the Steering Committee’s April 2011 decision, the 2011 AT&T Short Course National Championships to be held Dec. 1-3 in Atlanta, Ga., will now be a long course competition to allow participants an opportunity to achieve Olympic Trials qualifying standards.
This is an interesting decision, but probably the right one. Though most of the serious contenders for actual Olympic spots will probably have no problem earning Olympic Trials cuts at other meets, this will be an important change for college swimmers. Several college teams use the meet as a mid-season taper, and this will give them a good chance to earn their Olympic Trials cuts and still focus on the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.
The Olympic Trials, while only really important to maybe 10 or 15 swimmers in each event, are a great experience builder for future Olympians, and a great experience for many swimmers. While in general, I prefer USA Swimming to maintain the Short Course Nationals in yards, once every four years it’s probably a good move. I prefer this decision versus switching NCAA’s to long course. Short Course Jr. Nationals, which will be the week after Sr. Nationals at the University of Texas, will still be in yards.