The road to London in the breaststroke events goes through Los Angeles. That’s because coach Dave Salo has assembled the greatest breaststroke training group in the world at his Trojan Swim Club, which was made even stronger today by the announcement that short course phenom Mike Alexandrov would be joining the group.
For those keeping track, the group now includes Eric Shanteau, Kosuke Kitajima, Mike Alexandrov, Ed Moses, Kasey Carlson, Rebecca Soni, and Jessica Hardy. What was originally announced to be just a few-week training hiatus has apparently turned into a permanent move for Alexandrov. After seeing recent comments on his Twitter (including saying that two sprint sessions with Salo made him feel “alive” and referring to Los Angeles as “paradise”). The move isn’t too far from his former training spot with Tucson Ford Aquatics.
Alexandrov has long been a short-course specialist, and last December at Short Course Nationals he set both the 100 and 200 yard American Records. After tasting gold on the American medley at the 2010 World Championships, he’s now looking to improve his abilities in long course and earn an Olympic spot out of a depleted American breaststroke group. He has been a feel-good story for USA Swimming after switching his competition-nationality from Bulgaria to USA after the 2008 Olympics (he holds dual-citizenship). In college, he swam at Northwestern as part of a flash-in-the-pan team that included Matt Grevers, who Alexandrov has trained with for the better part of a decade until now.
I will be curious to see how far these moves will end up going. Could some of the Auburn breaststrokers (Adam Klein, Mark Gangloff, Micah Lawrence) be next? I’d bet that at least one of them makes the move between now and the Olympics.