USOC: “There Is Work To Be Done Between Now And Rio”

Retta Race
by Retta Race 14

September 27th, 2015 International, News

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) recently reviewed the outcome of this summer’s World Championships for both track and swimming and weren’t exactly beaming with the results in front of them.  As track and swimming have combined to account for 53% of the United States’ 407 medals over the last 4 Olympics, the fact that each sport’s performance was less than stellar does warrant a small cause for concern.

Chairman of the USOC, Larry Probst explained that he “wouldn’t call it blaring alarm bells, but both organizations had higher expectations going into worlds.”  Probst continued that “Everyone’s aware that there’s work to be done between now and Rio. Everyone knows we have to improve results when we get to the Olympic Games in Rio.”

Specifically, swimmers took home a total of 21 medals in Olympic swimming events while in Kazan, Russia – a total which is 4 fewer than their haul in 2011.  Additionally, superstar Missy Franklin, who was one of the United States’ golden girls at the 2012 London Olympic Games, was shut out of individual gold medals at Worlds. Moreover, races that have traditionally been skewed in the stars and stripes’ favor, were anything but a shoo-in in 2015. The men’s 400m freestyle relay failed to even make the finals in the event.

Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming, says of the outlook for Rio, “There’s always a level of anxiety. I’d say the level of anxiety is probably higher this time around than any time I’ve been executive director. But there have never been more opportunities for people to step up and make an impact on the Olympic team.”

On the plus side for the Americans, was that freestyle powerhouse Katie Ledecky had the meet of her life, racking up wins in the 200m-400m-800m-1500m individual freestyles. Additionally, the overall results of the Americans’ were notably without 22-time Olympic medalist, Michael Phelps who was removed from the worlds’ roster due to his DUI arrest in 2014.  However, while at U.S. Nationals in San Antonio this summer, Phelps was able to crank out three world #1 times that would have won gold in Kazan.

Also of note is the fact that Infostrada’s statistical prediction vehicle released in March of this year, the ‘Virtual Medal Table’, put the U.S. on top of the overall medal table in Rio. Its virtual medal predictions, based on a proprietary algorithm based purely on objective data, include Phelps winning the 100m butterfly and 200m IM events, and Franklin taking home victories in 100m back, 200m back and 200m free races.

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New yorker
7 years ago

The amount of pressure put on professional swimmers now verse 2011 is amazing. The 2016 Olympic team will be very young and the team we had in Kazan was made up of a great deal of college swimmers. They came out of about 8 months of intense SCY training verse almost every other country that strictly trains in meters. NCAA has recently allowed colleges to compete LCM which is good news, not to mention how many swimmers have decided to redshirt for the year. We may not have as strong of an olympics, but I believe the old-timers like MP and RL will show the youngsters the ropes and set up a great team for 2020. A lot of the… Read more »

7 years ago

Great article and I am glad that the concern has been noticed by the head honchos so to speak.
There are some similarities in the swim and track performances and outlook. In 2011 and 2012 the us swimming team was virtually a dream team, did great in Shanghai and even better in London. Besides MP and lochte there were many other established stars. Now MP and lochte are older, some stars have retired and some aren’t the same. In the 2011-2 cycle US swimmers improved from 25 to 31, so I can see a similar improvement here from 21 to 26 maybe 28 tops.
The situation with track is different. the team certainly underperformed (bobo the 100h was… Read more »

7 years ago

Hey Chuck……I’ve got a suggestion. Call your friends down in Florida and beg them not to make Dressel their frontline breaststroker for this year. Team USA needs all the help it can get on the 4×100 free relay, and having Dressel spend a large chunk of the year swimming breaststroke is just myopic.

7 years ago

when will be able to see mp swim next??
I hope we can see him before Olympic triala

bobo gigi
7 years ago

USA, unlike 2011, was very weak this year in track and field and swimming (olympic events in the pool and open water).

T&F: 12 golds/26 overall
Swimming: 16 golds/29 overall

T&F: 6 golds/18 overall
Swimming: 8 golds/21 overall
It was very weak about gold medals.
And the medals table at olympic games is based on gold medals.
The best sign of a very weak summer was the relays.
Only 1 US gold out of 4 in T&F at worlds.
Only 2 US golds out of 6 in swimming at worlds (olympic events).

Clearly both US teams are not entering the 2016 olympic year with the same confidence as it… Read more »

7 years ago

Chuck Wielgus should resign after Worlds. The flawed selection criteria falls under his watch.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Hank
7 years ago

If you talk about the selection system for world championships every 4 years (2007, 2011, 2015), that’s the choice of the national team director, Frank Busch right now (since 2011).

Reply to  Hank
7 years ago

Chuck has no say in any way with the decision that was made. The a National Team Director has the “Abosolute Authority” in all National team decisions. He might use the advice of his steering committee. If you want to complain to them go ahead as it is in the hands of the coaches. Unless anything has changed no one can overide the National Team Director in these swimming matters

7 years ago

I keep saying this. It’s no an Olympic year and not everyone is in top form. If you look at the shape that everyone is in compared to what they where four years ago, it’s very different. Watch over the next couple of months and you’ll see everyone get in top physical shape. It’s something that I noticed recently.

bobo gigi
Reply to  jarrettbrown
7 years ago

In 2011 the US team was dominant at worlds and in 2012 has confirmed with amazing olympic games (16 gold medals out of 32 in the pool).

7 years ago

I think U.S.A. Swimming is fine for Rio we can get 3 golds from phelps one from lochte maybe even two from him. And our relays will be much better at Rio. Not to mention Adrian will probably take silver in 50 free, our 4×100 will dominate or at least medal with the likes of conger and dressel with Adrian. With Murphy and Grevers we are guaranteed a medal in 100 back and probably 200 as well with clary and Murphy. Breast stroke we can at least get one medal in and our 200 free relay will kill it.
For our girls we got ledecky who is a lock for two gold medals. Missy will definitely place in something.… Read more »

Reply to  Uberfan
7 years ago

I think there’s a chance that Phelps and Ledecky might combine to lead the gold medal table by themselves.

Reply to  Uberfan
7 years ago

Realistically USA’s only “locks” for Gold look to be Ledecky W400/800, W4X200 & probably M4XMED.

Phelps re-jigs the medal equation in the 2 FLY races & maybe 200IM but I’m not going to listing any of these in the Gold column just now. US could pick up medals in either or both M BACK but Larkin looks like providing a significant obstacle to them winning. USA M4X200 will be stung by their loss in Kazan & should be significantly sharper but this is one they cannot take for granted. M 4X100 should at least make the final in Rio but its going to be tough to medal.

Looking past Ledecky on the women’s side and it starts getting tough… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
7 years ago

U sertainly forgot one GOLD Lock ; Men’s 800 free relay . After what we have seen on the 200 free from some guys lately , Usa is seriously stronger even than the BG team . With Phelps , Lochte + 2 youngsters ( Malone , Rooney , Shoults , Conger ) , they can step up and get the Gold .

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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