Swimming Phenoms Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky Begin Quest For Rio Gold

2012 gold-medalist swimmer Missy Franklin and 19-year-old Katie Ledecky look to make the 2016 Rio Olympics during the U.S trials this week.

With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games just a little over a month away, countries are finishing up qualifiers as they look to lock in their final Olympic team rosters.

For Team USA, trials for swimming are about to take place over the course of eight days. The 2016 U.S. Olympic trials began this past Sunday, June 26, in Omaha, Neb., and will go until July 3.

As there are a massive amount of swimmers competing for a spot on the Olympic team, a few big names stand out. The U.S. has an incredible group of talent in both their male and female swimmers, but it’s the women who have a particular ability to turn heads at the Olympics.

For instance, in the 2012 London Olympics, then 17-year-old Missy Franklin competed in her first Olympics as a swimmer for Team USA. Franklin was a favorite going into the Games, after she qualified in the 100m and 200m backstroke, as well as the 100m and 200m freestyle.

Franklin became a huge success from the get-go in the 2012 Olympics, having won gold in both the 100m and 200m backstroke, setting a world record in the 200. Aside from her individual accolades, Franklin was a member of the 800m freestyle relay and the 400m-medley relay, where the U.S. took home the gold in both events. In all, she walked away with five medals from the 2012 London Games, with her fifth being a bronze in the 400m freestyle relay.

After becoming a star in her own right back 2012, Franklin is back and ready to make Team USA proud once again. The now 21-year-old is entered in the 2016 Olympic Trials in her signature four events—100m and 200m backstroke and 100m and 200m freestyle. Franklin is a shoe-in to compete in all her events for the Rio Games.

Another female powerhouse for the U.S. is 19-year-old Katie Ledecky, who is reported to make a run at the 400 freestyle relay. According to Swimming World Magazine, Ledecky is ranked fourth in the 100m freestyle, and also has spots in the 200m, 400m, and 800m freestyles. Additionally, she is seeded fifth in the 400m individual medley, and 23rd in the 50m freestyle.

Like Franklin, Ledecky also had her first shot at the Olympics in the 2012 London Games. At the time, she was only 15, and won gold in the 800m freestyle. She broke former U.S. swimmer Janet Evans’ 1989 American record with a time of 8:14.63.

To simply put it, the girl has a knack for swimming all distances of freestyle. In an interview with the Washington Post, Ledecky expressed her composure going into the trials on Sunday.

“I’m feeling really good about where I’m at and where I’ve been all year,” Ledecky said. “I’ve been able to pop some good times.

“Hopefully I’ll make the [4×100] relay and contribute to the relay,” she said. “I’ve surprised myself how much my speed has come along this year. You never know. We’ll just see how far we can take it.”

No matter what happens over the course of the 2016 Olympic trials this week, one thing is for certain: the U.S. women swimmers will dominate in at the Rio Games.

Be sure to check back at Athena Sports Net for the results of the U.S. Olympic trials.

Taylor Vecchioni