1.) You're Getting Older, Men's USA Roster. (Yes, I Stole This Title From A South Park Episode). While we watched teenage phenom Missy Franklin blaze out a lightning-fast 52.99 --- the only "non-professional" swimmer on both men's and women's finals relays and yet having the best split among them -- we watched the men take third place. While you can debate what this means, about leadership, about desire.... quite simply scan the men's roster. There's only one teenager on the entire roster, and that is an open water swimmer. While the women's side looks to be in good shape with Sutton, Franklin, Beisel, and Pelton, the men's side has literally no teenagers who are gaining experience here. Back home, I can only wonder what superstar-in-the-making David Nolan is thinking. It seems like Franklin has given a spark for the women, and that spark is youth + speed + desire. When Phelps and this current generation of mid-20-something swimmers retire after the 2012 Olympics, we're going to see a whole wave of next-generation male swimmers with little or no international experience. Should be interesting.
2.) Could Vollmer be the Great World Record Hope? She's only a few tenths off the 100m fly world record, folks. It would be a big drop, but she could do it. Coming into this meet, I wrote that Rebecca Soni had the best shot at a record. I still believe that, but Vollmer looks so good, so smooth and in-control of her races, I wonder if we could see a swim-of-a-lifetime tomorrow.
3.) What's with the Lochte-Swimming-For-A-Spot-In-Prelims Decision? Like Desantis said in an earlier post this morning, "Not putting the world's best swimmer on your 4x100 relay needs some explanation." Agree? Disagree? Personally, if you have a swimmer that went 6-for-6 at the Pan Pacific Championships one year ago, was undoubtedly the World's Swimmer of the Year, and is the biggest hype this side of James Magnusson, you put him in the relay. It's like not giving LeBron James the final shot at the end of the game (wait, bad analogy). It's like not giving Michael Jordan the final shot at the end of the game (wait, that's Michael Phelps). It's like not giving Tiger Woods the (wait.) I don't know. It's just weird, right?
4.) Missy Franklin's Professional Status, and NCAA Swimming. I don't want to jump the gun here, but Franklin has already turned down $40,000 in prize money this year alone. She looks like a Natalie-Coughlin-In-The-Making (or Now). Needless to say, she's going to be wooned and swooned over leading up to these 2012 Olympics. While we have a lot of swimming left to see from Franklin, it'll be interesting to see how this shapes up. She's only 16. Her coach has said that college is a goal of hers, and she would like to compete in NCAA swimming -- this much is obvious. But this is a problem (and I've said this before about our sport) about amateurism, the Olympics, and teenage phenoms. I hope Franklin continues to want to compete in college, because it would be wonderful for the NCAA, like Natalie Coughlin competing for Cal. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next year. We'll see how she swims the rest of the meet, and then maybe re-visit this conversation.
5.) What is Brendan Hansen Thinking? Mark Gangloff is the only USA swimmer in the top-16, and he'll head to the finals tomorrow. Is Brendan Hansen licking his chops, preparing for Nationals? Clearly, this men's 100m breaststroke event is more wide-open than we thought. It will be interesting to see how fast Hansen swims later in the summer, and how close to some of these times he will get. In a similar vein, Matt Grevers should also be eyeing some of these relay times and thinking to himself, "I could be on the 4x100 freestyle relay in 2012."