Swimming trials best prep for Games - coaches

The cut-throat US Olympic swimming trials winding up on Monday, just 26 days before the start of competition in London, were the perfect preparation for the Games, the top US coaches said.

"I'm comfortable with our trials being late because right now the rest of the world has to wonder if they can get there again," men's head coach Gregg Troy said, a reference to the fact that other nations including Australia held their trials as long ago as March.

"We know where we are at. Our athletes are in a good spot. We have 21 great days planned for them," Troy said of the training camps planned before the Games.

"I think we're going to respond really well. It's competition, and we like to compete."

Superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and rising star Missy Franklin all booked ambitious schedules including four individual events, with the potential for three relays apiece.

Troy noted that Phelps and Lochte, among others, competed in the eight-day meeting without full rest.

A return to hard training, followed by a full taper off of training, should see them at their peaks in London, he said.

"On top of that, eight days of racing in this environment, we have better athletes now than we did 10 days ago," Troy said. "There's nothing that sharpens a skill more than competition."

US audiences are sure to focus on the rivalry that has bloomed between Phelps and Lochte. In the years since Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing, Lochte has emerged as the world's dominant male swimmer.

They are slated to meet in the 200m and 400m individual medleys, with a third potential showdown in the 200m free scuppered when Phelps opted out of that event on Monday.

"It's good for the sport, it's good for the athletes," Troy said of the rivalry, but added that US fans "need to understand there's some other guys in the world who are really good.

"I don't believe that Michael or Ryan have carte blanche that it's just the two of them. There are other guys out there who are capable, and I think Michael and Ryan are both ready for those challenges."

Projected medal counts were conspicuously absent from the closing comments of Troy, women's head coach Teri McKeever and USA Swimming's national team director Frank Busch.

The US were last beaten in the swimming medals table by the former East Germany at the 1988 Games.

Instead they focused on how much better they think the swimmers selected in Omaha can get before the Games begin.

"I'm excited about the way the team has unfolded," McKeever said. "The rest of the world is looking at how fast we're swimming...

"There's an expectation of every coach and every athlete -- they have a vision of how to get better in the next 26 days."

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