“So that’s what that feels like,” says US Swim Team
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the US Men’s 4X100 Swim Team shocked the world when they rallied past France in the last turn to take the gold. It was a huge moment for the USA and their star Michael Phelps, who went on to win eight gold medals. Well, turnabout is fair play because on Sunday, the Americans went into the last leg of the 4X100 with a half second league only to see Ryan Lochte fade and get overtaken by the French anchor Yannick Agnel as the US settled for the silver medal. Immediately afterward, questions started to get asked about the makeup of the team, centering largely on Lochte, and were directed at US swim coach Gregg Troy. His reply: “*shrug*”apparently.
The criticism of the coach’s decision to put Lochte in the anchor spot was plentiful. Lochte, who emerged from Phelps’ shadow the day before by dominating the field in the 400 meter individual medley, was in the middle of a brutal schedule of races, which could have resulted in the tank being just a little too empty to finish the race out strong. Then there’s the small fact that Lochte had no experience in this race, rarely taking part in the 100 meter freestyle, and never participating in the 4X100 relay, let alone in the all-important anchor position. That inexperience came out as he “over swam” his first 50 meters, which combined with his likely fatigue to hurt his back 50 meters. What says you coach?
“I knew on the first 25 he was in trouble.”
“He didn’t have much experience there,” Troy said. “I just wish he could have swam a little bit smarter race.”
“Kind of a coaching error,” Troy acknowledged. But later, when I asked if in hindsight he would have taken Lochte out of the anchor role, he said, “No, I think we probably would’ve swam the same relay.”
“Yeah, that was a bit of a tactical error. I would use the exact same tactics again, though.” -Gregg Troy, master tactician.
In Troy’s defense, the US men didn’t have a bad race. Every member of the team finished their leg in under 48 seconds and the USA led through most of it. Lochte was watching the favored Australians (nicknamed “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” so ugh) on his right, unaware of the French push coming up on his left. Every member ran a good race…France just ran a great one. Sometimes other countries are just better.
But this is America, and we’re the best in everything (or it’s just a dumb “activity” anyways), so scapegoats must be sacrificed. Welcome to the shame spotlight Ryan Lochte! I know you were just getting comfortable in the warm glow of being a hero after crushing the fied in the 400 IM, but this is America buddy. We’re fickle. NOW WIN MORE GOLD OR SWIM HOME! U-S-A! U-S-A!