U.S. swimmers won 31 medals at the 2012 Olympics, of which 16 were gold. There were 11 individual gold medals won, but not all of those swimmers will return for the 2016 Olympics in Rio – partly because Team USA has 30 Olympic rookies on its 47-strong roster this time around.
Newcomer Leah Smith (who will swim the 400m and 800m freestyle, plus the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays) perhaps summed it up best: “I feel like not a lot of people see the background. Maya DiRado and Kevin Cordes have been good since 2013 and missed out earlier. I was nowhere near making the team in 2012, so it's been a steady progress but, yeah, it's really cool to be one of the first-timers.”
Here is where all of the 2012 Olympic gold medalists stand after the 2016 U.S. Swimming Trials:
Michael Phelps, 2012 gold medalist in the 100m butterfly and the 200m individual medley: The most decorated Olympian of all time is also the only U.S. male swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016). He’ll aim to become the only swimmer to win four consecutive gold medals in any event, in both his 100m butterfly and 200m IM.
“Sitting there before I went out, I was like, ‘See a lot of new faces on the team,’ and ‘I don't even know half of them,’” Phelps said of all the newcomers. “So it's good, I think it's good for our sport. Not to say anything bad against those guys, you know, I've been on multiple national teams. I think it's interesting and also exciting just to have new faces of people who are really pumped to come up into the sport. I think that's something that, for me, is a good thing to see as I'm on my way out.”
Allison Schmitt, 2012 gold medalist in the 200m freestyle: Schmitt made the team as part of the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, but won’t swim her gold medal event in Rio. She was edged out by Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin, the 2013 and 2015 world champions, respectively.
Nathan Adrian, 2012 gold medalist in the 100m freestyle: Adrian will race both the 50m and 100m freestyles in Rio after winning both races at Trials. He’ll also likely add some relays to his program.
Tyler Clary, 2012 gold medalist in the 200m backstroke: Clary finished third in the 200m backstroke at Trials, missing his chance to go to Rio. In talking to media after the race, Clary said he’d retire: “I don't see a reason to continue. It's been a great time as a professional swimmer. I'm looking forward to turning a page in the book of my life and starting a new chapter.”
Missy Franklin, 2012 gold medalist in the 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke: Franklin missed out on the chance to defend her 100m distance gold – finishing seventh in the final where she needed to be top two – but will have the opportunity to defend her 200m backstroke gold in Rio. She’ll also have the 200m freestyle individually, an event in which she finished fourth at the 2012 Olympics, and the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Matt Grevers, 2012 gold medalist in the 100m backstroke: Grevers, a six-time Olympic medalist including the 100m backstroke gold in London, finished third in his signature event at Trials by half a second and didn’t make the Rio roster. "I'm a little stunned," Grevers said, immediately following his race. "After I let it sink in, I'll be more distraught than I currently am."
Katie Ledecky, 2012 gold medalist in the 800m freestyle: Ledecky was the youngest U.S. athlete in the entire delegation in London. She’s still the youngest female swimmer the U.S. will bring to Rio, but she’ll have tons more experience. The 2015 world champion in the 200m, 400m, 800m and non-Olympic 1500m freestyle will have the chance to race for gold in the three women’s distances in Rio, plus a few relays.
Ryan Lochte, 2012 gold medalist in the 400m individual medley: Lochte finished third in the 400m IM at Trials and will not defend his individual gold in Rio. Instead, he’ll swim the same program he competed at his first Olympics, Athens in 2004: the 4x200m freestyle relay and the 200m IM.
Dana Vollmer, 2012 gold medalist in the 100m butterfly: Vollmer won gold in London in what was then world record-time. She stepped away from the sport and gave birth to her son, Arlen, in March 2015. She returned to the pool shortly thereafter and qualified for her third Olympics at the 2016 Trials for the chance to defend her gold.
Rebecca Soni, 2012 gold medalist in the 200m breaststroke: Soni is no longer competing and did not race at the Trials.