View Full Version : U.S. needs true sprinters

June 14th, 2005, 05:14 PM
here's another recent swimming article

U.S. needs true sprinters
Phelps willing to compete in 100 free, but he's better at other strokes, distances.

June 14th, 2005, 05:41 PM
I read that article too ... Not sure what to say about it ... we have some darn fast women, Kara Lynn Joyce, Natalie Coughlin, etc. Hall, Walker, Crocker, etc. Are all good if not GREAT sprinters ... I think something is going on with Crocker seems like he's palteauing (?) or something, going through a rough patch ... I think he's going to get better and faster though ...

Allen Stark
June 14th, 2005, 11:00 PM
To some degree I think this is cyclical, in 2000 they were saying all the US could produce was sprinters. Also I think Phelps may become a great sprinter as he gets older and more muscular. I do think there is some reason for concern for male sprinters. We evidently are having trouble getting boys involved in age group swimming(ASCA did a cover article on this as did Splash.) The best sprinters are going to be tall strong fast twitch people, the exact athletes the "glamour" sports want. Hopefully the success of Phelps will help get more boys into swimming.

Michael Heather
June 15th, 2005, 12:28 AM
Don't forget Water Polo. It is a predatory sport in some communities where there seems to be an "either or" mentality. Both sports compete for the same pool space, hence the same bodies. Polo is more social and spends less time actually swimming, so the easy switch is made.

June 15th, 2005, 11:06 AM
Pretty good article. I'm not sure how college swimming using the short course format has anything to do with it, but other than that I agree. I do think we've got some up and comers like Matt Grevers and Ben Wildman-Tobriner with lots of potential, but to a large extent these guys haven't proven themselves yet on the international stage. The fact that Phelps won the 100 at Trials with a time making him only the 19th best performer all-time in the event shows there's room for improvement.

June 15th, 2005, 12:31 PM
I don't necessarily think that U.S. sprinting is in dire straits, but certainly the rest of the world is much better that it used to be...on both the men's and women's side. Athens was disappointing for both the men's 400 relay and the 100 Free performances. We have had some very good recent performances, however. Remember, Jason Lezak broke the American record just last summer in the 100 (2nd all-time performer, I believe). And, he won the 100 at the short course worlds. He swam very well on the relays in Athens as well.

It seems to me that the main problem recently has been consistency. For example, Ian Crocker shatters the 100 SCM world record in March, but doesn't swim anywhere near this level LCM the following summer (sickness in Athens notwithstanding). Lezak swims a stupid 100 preliminary in Athens. Ervin retires in his prime. Hall focuses more on the 50 than the 100. If all these guys are swimming at their best at the same time, I think the U.S. might have won the relay in Athens.

I don't really agree with what the article implies about U.S. sprinting suffering because of foreigners competing for U.S. universities. U.S. sprinters should benefit from the competition in practices and meets. If someone wants to make the argument that foreign athletes take scholarships away from U.S. athletes and that U.S. coaching is making the rest of the world better, I might be swayed. But, even at that, I think U.S. athletes should be motivated to get better and win those scholarships and perform better at NCAA's. It shouldn't be used as an excuse.

Tom Ellison
June 15th, 2005, 12:50 PM
"If someone wants to make the argument that foreign athletes take scholarships away from U.S. athletes and that U.S. coaching is making the rest of the world better, "

Wow, is this a great topic to open another thread.....

Jeff Commings
June 16th, 2005, 04:26 PM
It all depends on the superstar swimmer of the moment. That's who the kids gravitate to.

1988 Olympics: Matt Biondi and Janet Evans. So things were pretty even in terms of sprinters and distance swimmers.

1992 Olympics: Mike Barrowman. Lots of breastrokers.

1994-1997: Gary Hall. Sprinters up the wazoo. The press wonders if any American will break 15 minutes, as three Australians blast through the barrier.

1998-2000: Tom Dolan. Distance swimming on the upswing. Also the time when the first American man breaks 15 minutes.

2000-present: Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin. Emphasis returns on middle distance free and strokes.

Sure, there were other stars at the time. But these were the biggies. And since they were prominent, all the up and comers looked at them and said, "That's who I want to be." And they worked to become them.

June 17th, 2005, 10:27 AM
I think htat we have way too many sprinters. Even worse, many universities have set up their teams to have lots of guys (I don't know about women's programs) who can do a lot of different sprints so that they can get the most points out of a wide range of people. If you have a guy who can do 3 strokes in 100's & 50's you get more points from him than a guy who can only do distance for the same amount of money. taht's why i try to encourage all distance swimmers to look into doing IM's.