American swimming is entering a new world of post-graduate swimming. Huge training hubs are popping up as swimmers push more-and-more toward professional swimming careers.
One of the most explosive of these, if not the most explosive, over the last two years was Dave Salo’s Trojan Swim Club, based at the USC campus. They had superstars like Rebecca Soni, Ricky Berens, and Ous Mellouli, all of whom won Olympic gold medals, but beyond that was the sheer number of elite athletes from all corners of the world who congregated in Los Angeles. It was truly staggering.
Some of these (Berens, Texas) have already made the decision to leave: a post-Olympic reshuffling of athletes seems as though it’s going to be the modus operandus in these clubs.
But in exchange, Salo is already picking up more swimmers as athletes around the world are attracted to the Southern California lifestyle and Salo’s unique training methods. The latest to come to town is Russia’s Nikita Lobintsev, according to his federation.
Lobintsev will separate from longtime russian coach Valery Shevelyov, though on good terms saying that he “will always be grateful for the fact that Valery helped me prepare for the Olympic Games in London.”
The conversations started prior to the Olympics, but weren’t finalized until after London (Lobintsev says he was also talking with Gregg Troy). He says that his English is improving and that he shouldn’t have any trouble communicating. He will join fellow Russian Vlad Morozov at USC, which should help Salo create a plan around the Russian schedule.
Lobintsev won a silver medal in Beijing as part of Russia’s 800 free relay and a bronze in London as part of the 400. His 47.39 in London was the fastest split on the Russian relay.