The year after an Olympics is often break time for athletes recovering to gear up for the next Games. That’s not apparent at this week’s USA Swimming national championships. Most of the 35 U.S. medalists at the London Aquatics Centre are in the field at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis through Sunday. They’re bidding for top-two finishes to qualify for individual events at the world championships in Barcelona, which begin July 28.
Who isn’t swimming in Indy? The retired Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak and Peter Vanderkaay, as well as Brendan Hansen. Rebecca Soni and Eric Shanteau are on extended post-Olympic breaks.
Of the headliners competing, here’s a look at what they’ve been up to since London:
Ryan Lochte: What has Ryan Lochte done? Well, his own TV show, for starters. He’s also decided to leave his longtime training base, Gainesville, Fla., for a fresh environment after worlds. Despite words of warning Troy for lackluster early-season times, Lochte’s still the class of the American men across several events, going into nationals with the top U.S. times in the 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 200 and 400 individual medleys, according to FINA. Lochte entered 11 events at nationals, but he will surely scratch some.
Missy Franklin: The bubbly five-time 2012 medalist hasn’t slowed down too much in or out of the pool. She met Justin Bieber, chose a college, graduated high school and met Prince Harry among other dryland exploits. In a suit, she’s still a record-breaker. She lowered the national championship mark in winning the 100-meter freestyle in 53.43 on Monday. Franklin’s plenty busy in Indianapolis, having entered six events.
Allison Schmitt: Schmitt, a five-time medalist in London, capped her collegiate career with three more NCAA titles and Georgia’s first team title since 2005. She returned to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club (as did her coach, Bob Bowman, after nine months away). At nationals, she was less than her dominant self to start out, missing the A final in the 100 and 200 free.
Nathan Adrian: The sizzling sprinter can focus solely on professional swimming, having graduated from Cal last year. Adrian told SwimSwam.com in April he’s added 10 pounds, most of it muscle, that may help his explosiveness in the 50 free. Adrian backed up his Olympic gold in the 100 free by besting a field that included six Olympic champions on the opening night of nationals. He’s booked for Barcelona.
Natalie Coughlin: Many thought Coughlin, 31, would hang up her suit after collecting her 12th Olympic medal in the 4×100 free relay in London. But the desire is still there, after a winter trip to watch gorillas. With Phelps’ retirement, Coughlin is now the most decorated active Olympian. Her event focus shifted after her third Olympics. The two-time Olympic backstroke champion is only swimming the 50 and 100 freestyles in Indianapolis.