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College Swimming at the Olympics
2 min read
Swimming is one of the few sports which have been featured in the Olympics since the Games began in 1896. Throughout the years, it has developed into one of the most competitive and thrilling Olympic sports, which today features a total of 34 events, ranging from open water marathons to 50m freestyle. Maintaining their reputation of producing high quality swimmers, UC Berkeley alumni make up 10 of the 35 members of the US Olympic swim team in Rio. Among those is Missy Franklin, a senior at the school, where she majors in psychology. Franklin is tipped to become the next Phelps, and we’ve already seen the glimmer of talent that ensures she won’t disappoint. At the London 2012 Games, the then 17-year-old Missy walked away with five medals – four of them gold. This year, she is 21, competing in four events, and is determined to bring back gold once again. Nearly 3,000 miles across the country from Berkeley, the University of Florida will too be cheering on their alumni as they take to the pool this August. Florida Gators swimming program has been responsible for producing some of the world’s finest swimmers, such as Ryan Lochte and Dara Torres, who among them have 23 Olympic medals. In London four years ago, 19 swimmers who competed were former Gators, and this time, competitors like Caeleb Dressel and Elizabeth Beisel will fly the blue and orange flag. One of the highlights at Rio 2016 is the much-anticipated return of Michael Phelps. After London 2012, Phelps announced his retirement, before retracting it in 2014 and qualifying to head off to Brazil, where swimming fans across the world will eagerly wait to witness his return. Among those glued to the TV when Phelps takes to the water will be the thousands of University of Michigan students, for whom the former Wolverine provides a source of inspiration. UMich will this year see Connor Jaeger, a Class of 2014 graduate, compete alongside Phelps – both products of the Michigan’s highly successful swim program, which is frequently named as one of the best in the country.