Swimmers to watch at Rio 2016
The Olympic Games 2016 in Rio is set to begin on the 05 August, so to get in the sporting spirit, Rebecca James takes a look at the swimming athletes sure to win gold this summer.
One of the best parts about the Olympics is the fantastic coverage of sport – the mainstream TV channels broadcast events and sports that normally wouldn’t get a look in. And while there have been developments in recent years in terms of the broadcasting of major events in swimming, there is nothing quite like spending a week watching heats, semi-finals and finals. However, because they don’t attain the same kind of profile as some of the other sports stars, here is a run down of just a small selection of the sporting stars you should be looking out for:
Adam Peaty is the undeniable rising star within the British swim team – having beaten the World Record for 100m Breaststroke in 2015, he now holds both the 100 and 50m Breaststroke World Records. Peaty swims with City of Derby swimming club and is mentored by former Olympian Rebecca Adlington. He certainly seems on form, having stormed to first place in the 100m Breaststroke in the European Championships in London earlier this year in full training, which is promising for Rio in the summer. Peaty is an odds on favourite to win the 100m Breaststroke this summer, as the 50m Breaststroke isn’t swum at the Olympics, so make sure to keep an eye out for him.
You have to have lived under a rock during 2008 to not have heard this name – Michael Phelps is one of the most successful swimmers ever, having won eight gold medals in the games. Phelps retired after 2012, having won four golds and two silvers at the Olympic games, but chose to return to the pool in 2014. This will be his fifth Olympic games, and if the recent American team Olympic trials are anything to go by, the 31 year old still has it. Watch out for him in the 100m Butterfly, 200m Butterfly (events which he is still World Record holder) and the 200 Individual Medley all three events which he won in the American trials.
Lithuanian swimmer Meilutyte made waves in 2012 when she won the gold medal in the 100m Breaststroke at just aged 15, making her the youngest Lithuanian Olympic medal winner ever. Meilutyte is in good form at the moment, having won the 100m Breaststroke at the European Championships in London, although she faces tough competition from the controversial Russian swimmer Yuliya Effimova who has not been banned from the championships despite her Meldonium use (the same drug that resulted in Maria Sharapova’s suspension). Meilutyte also has ties to the UK as she trains in Plymouth alongside fellow Olympic qualifier Ben Proud.
Katie Ledecky upset the UK in 2012 when she beat then Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington in the 800m freestyle, at just age 15. Since then she has gone from strength to strength, becoming the first female swimmer to win the 200, 400, 800, and 1500m freestyle in one competition at 2015 Kazan World Championships. The American swimmer will compete at Rio in the 200m, 400m, and 800m freestyle, and she is certainly favourite in the 400m and 800m, as World Record holder in those two events (times set last year at Kazan). At only 19 years old Ledecky still has plenty of competitive years in her, and she certainly will be a swimmer to watch this summer.
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