Top 5 U.S. Swimmers To Watch For In The Olympics

While Team USA has officially been named across all sports, there are five women swimmers to keep an eye on at this year’s Olympics.

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games are right around the corner. As the Games begin on Aug. 5, the official Team USA roster for the Olympics has been named. A bulk of the roster comes from the women swimmers, who completed trails in early July. This year, the U.S. has more female athletes than any other country, proving the strength that women possess.

While there are many U.S. women athletes appearing in Rio, there are five women swimmers in particular to watch for on Team USA.

  1. Katie Ledecky (400m Free, 200m Free, 800m Free, 800m Free Relay): This will be Ledecky’s second Olympic appearance, following her first in the 2012 London Olympics at just 15 years old, where she took home an unexpected gold medal in the 800m freestyle. Now 19, she has four years of maturing and training under her belt, as she is favored to dominate all four events she qualified for. Ledecky is a phenom, as she holds world records in the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter freestyles. A threat to all in the freestyle events, the 19-year-old has won gold in 15 out of 15 international races in her swimming career thus far. Expect Ledecky to be a force to be reckoned with, as she hopes to bring home the gold for Team USA.
  2. Missy Franklin (200m Back, 200m Free, 800m Free Relay): In her inaugural appearance, Franklin was a breakout at the 2012 London Olympics. She had the time of her life back in 2012 at just 17 years old, when she became a four-time gold medalist. Despite having a rough time at the 2016 Olympic Trials, Franklin is still a favorite for Team USA as she heads to Rio in three events.
  3. Allison Schmitt (800m Free Relay, 400m Free Relay): The training partner of male counterpart Michael Phelps, Schmitt is returning to Team USA for her third Olympics appearance. A freestyle specialist in her own right, Schmitt is looking to add to her six Olympic medals in Rio.
  4. Abbey Weitzeil (50m Free, 100m Free, 400m Free Relay, 400m Medley Relay): The 19-year-old is making her Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics. An expert in the sprint freestyle events, Weitzeil earned herself two-top finishes at trials. Weitzeil put up the fastest ever recorded time in the United States with 53.27 seconds in the 100m Free. The first-time Olympian is sure to make a splash in Rio.
  5. Leah Smith (400m Free, 800m Free, 800m Free Relay): The 21-year-old is also making her Olympic debut in Rio, as she was the runner-up to Ledecky in the 400m Free and 800m Free. Although she is going up against teammate Ledecky in both individual events in Rio, Smith is considered a strong medal contender in the 400m. Additionally, with Team USA favored to medal in the 800m Free Relay, Smith has the potential to leave Rio with at least two medals to her name.

In all, Ledecky, Franklin, Schmitt, Weitzeil, and Smith are ones to watch, as the 2016 Rio Olympics takes off Aug. 5-21. Check back at Athena Sports Net for more Rio news and results.

Taylor Vecchioni