By John Lohn
ASTON, Pennsylvania, October 28. WHEN the United States travels to Shanghai, China for next year’s World Short Course Championships, the squad representing the Red, White and Blue will have a different look than the team that competed at last summer’s World Champs in Montreal. Simply put, the team for the upcoming short-course event boasts an intriguing mix.
Many of the top names in United States swimming will bypass the competition, including the likes of Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff. More, the Stars and Stripes will be without the presence of the Texas Triumvirate of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Ian Crocker. Also missing will be Natalie Coughlin and Kara Lynn Joyce.
A question that immediately comes to mind: Is it a positive that the United States will be missing some of its top guns come April? Well, it’s not really a bad thing. Considering the fact that the Pan Pacific Championships are scheduled for August in Vancouver, the major names are likely to be in action later in the year, and with the opportunity to uncork swift times in major competition.
In the meantime, the youngsters headed to Shanghai will have the chance to either further their reputations or pop a breakout performance on the international stage. While Jessica Hardy and Kate Ziegler have already made their global mark, the World Short Course Champs will allow them to solidify their world-wide standing two years out from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Other youngsters, meanwhile, will be expected to gain valuable experience for careers on the upswing. Take Alicia Aemisegger for example. The latest standout to be produced by Dick Shoulberg at Germantown Academy, Aemisegger made a major push at qualifying for the World Champs in Montreal, as she finished third at the U.S. Trials. In Shanghai, she can demonstrate her progression.
Of course, a number of veterans will also have the chance to prove their worth and illustrate that their careers remain hot. Unable to advance to the final of the 50 free in Montreal, Jason Lezak settled – on an individual level – for a fourth-place effort in the 100 free. Certainly, his venture to the World Short Course Champs will let Lezak show that his increasing age does not equate to sliding results.
What unfolds in China remains to be seen. Yet, we already know this: The squad representing the United States will provide interesting results – at least from a collection of athletes standpoint.
Here is a list of the athletes scheduled to compete in Shanghai:
Aemisegger, Alicia Germantown Academy Dick Shoulberg
Breeden, Elaine Wildcat Aquatics John Brucato
Correia, Maritza Athens Bulldog Jack Bauerle
Descenza, Mary Athens Bulldog Jack Bauerle
Hardy, Jessica Irvine Novaquatics Dave Salo
Hoelzer, Margaret Auburn Aquatics David Marsh
Kirk, Tara Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics Lea Maurer
Komisarz, Rachel Lakeside Swim Team Mike DeBoor
Piper, Carly Wisconsin Aquatics Eric Hansen
Sandeno, Kaitlin Trojan Swim Club Mark Schubert
Soni, Rebecca Scarlet Aquatic Club Tom Speedling
Weir, Amanda Swim Atlanta Chris Davis
Ziegler, Kate The Fish Ray Benecki
Bal, Randall Stanford Swimming Skip Kenney
Brunelli, Nicholas Sun Devil Aquatics Mike Chasson
Cramer, Jayme Southeastern SC/Stanford Skip Kenney
Grevers, Matthew Scout Aquatics/Northwestern Lea Maurer/Bob Groseth
Jensen, Larsen Trojan Swim Club Mark Schubert
Jones, Cullen NC State Aquatics Team Chad Onken
Keller, Klete Club Wolverine Bob Bowman
Lezak, Jason Irvine Novaquatics Dave Salo
Lochte, Ryan Daytona Beach/Florida Steve Lochte/Gregg Troy
Margalis, Robert Georgia Jack Bauerle
Pogioli, Giordan Purdue Dan Ross
Thompson, Chris Club Wolverine Bob Bowman
Usher, Scott Wyoming TJ Johnson