This afternoon, while driving home from work, I caught a piece on NPR featuring Dakota Hodgson talking about the upcoming Olympic Trials and his chances in the 200 fly.
Aside from the obvious – that Olympic years are a great time to be a swimfan – this piece, produced for a largely mainstream audience, hit upon a huge idea in swimming headed toward Omaha: the huge shadow that Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps cast on the American team. Between the two, they could claim as many as 10 of the 26 individual swims. That’s a huge chunk, and can be daunting for American swimmers. It would be hard mentally, for example, to even attempt to race the 200 IM – unless a swimmer is young enough to use it for “experience” put toward races after 2012.
Hodgson is a former Auburn Tiger who will begin at USC this fall; he’s currently back home in Nashville training under his father toward Omaha. He was the 5th-fastest 200 butterflier in prelims at a Phelps-less summer Nationals last year in 1:58.81, but slipped to 10th in finals.