The U.S. swim team, especially the women’s team, is probably the best in the world. The team won 33 medals — 16 of them gold — in 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Games in Brazil. In the most recent World Championships in 2019, the team won 27 medals (14 gold).
Swimming superstar Michael Phelps retired from competition after the Rio Games. Phelps won an incredible 28 Olympic medals, including 23 gold.
The United States team still has big stars. The biggest star is Katie Ledecky from Bethesda, Maryland, who has won six Olympic medals, including five gold. Ledecky probably will add to that total this summer. The 24-year-old is favored to win in the 400-meter, 800-meter and the new (for the women) 1,500-meter freestyle events.
But if you like swimming and want to be ready for watching the Tokyo Games, you should learn the names of some newer competitors.
Torri Huske, an 18-year-old graduate of Yorktown High School in Arlington, made the U.S. team Monday by setting an American record in the women’s 100-meter butterfly. Huske will try to make the team in several other events.
Sixteen-year-old Claire Curzan is another teenager to watch. Curzan made the team by finishing second to Huske. But she should also compete in Tokyo in multiple events.
These teens may have been helped by the one-year delay of the Summer Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. It gave them a year to train more, get stronger and catch up to their older rivals.
Sprint specialist Michael Andrew, 22, has taken a different path to swimming stardom. He became a professional swimmer at age 14 and has been coached by his father instead of being part of a regular team. Andrew may make his mark in several events.
Caeleb Dressel, who’s 24, is another sprinting sensation who is favored in the 50- and 100-meter sprints. Those are races that could be decided by the length of a fingernail.
Check the TV listings to see when you can watch the Omaha trials. You may see dreams come true, dreams get dashed but always plenty of excitement and drama.