The Morning Swim Show, Jan. 2, 2012: John Lohn and Peter Busch Recap 2011 and Anticipate the Big Stories of 2012

PHOENIX, Arizona, January 2. OUR first edition of The Morning Swim Show for 2012 features a discussion with John Lohn and host Peter Busch about some of the top names and moments in 2011, and how they are looking to create history in 2012.

Among the people discussed include Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ian Thorpe and Brendan Hansen. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)

Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Monday, January 2, 2012. Happy New Year everyone. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Swimming World Magazine senior writer John Lohn. It's time to look back on the best stories of 2011 and look ahead to 2012, and John Lohn joins us right now in the FINIS monitor. John, Happy New Year to you buddy. How are you?

John Lohn: I'm doing well Peter. Hope 2012 goes well for you.

Peter Busch: Thank you. It's gonna be a great year in swimming isn't it?

John Lohn: Well it doesn't get any better than an Olympic year does it? I'm counting down the days for London. Can't wait to see what shakes out over there.

Peter Busch: The biggest story of 2011 for me personally was Missy Franklin. Because I believe that her emergence completely changed the landscape of women's swimming and significantly boosted the Americans' chances of winning all three relays and being the dominant presence once again, which they have necessarily been in a while. 2012 — now that the expectations are there, she's gotta deliver.

John Lohn: There's no more sneaking up on anybody. There's no more – well she's the young female, what can she do? The expectations now are huge, there is gonna be more pressure. The way Missy handles herself though, I really believe she can. I don't wanna call her a female Phelps because I don't think that's fair but I think she's going to really show everyone how special she is. I don't think she'll be fazed by the pressure that I mention that's coming. I don't feel she'll be fazed by the Olympic stage. She has this carefree attitude that I think is one of her best weapons and to have that to go with the skill she has in the water is pretty important.

Peter Busch: I think she has the potential to win the most individual medals in London. I don't know how many she'll swim but I think she has the potential to win the most individual gold I should say.

John Lohn: Well like you said and so much hinges on the relays. We saw that in 2008 and how important was for Jason Lezak to come up with that ridiculous swim just to make what Michael Phelps did possible. But Missy brings to the United States all of a sudden like you said earlier in this interview, the US is in the game to win all three relays in London and before she came along that wasn't a possibility. So she is helping her own cause by strengthening the US. 100, 200 back obviously are there. 100, 200 freestyle, the 200 free people might think I'm nuts for saying this. I think she wins that comfortably and the Pellegrini supporters might think I'm crazy. But the way she shine in 11, I think we're only seeing the surface scratched, pardon the cliché.

Peter Busch: It was a big year for comebacks in 2011. It often is a year or two before the Olympic year. People finally make up their mind. No bigger comeback than Brendan Hansen on the American side and the news of Ian Thorpe coming back in Australia. First with Brendan real quick because he did have a very successful summer. I think he shocked a lot of people.

John Lohn: I don't think there's a comeback right that even approach is how strong Brendan has been and this is a huge sign because let's face it the United States has very much been in need of someone they can really rely on the breaststroke leg in the 400 medley relay. That's probably the weak point right now of American relays is that breaststroke legs. Brendan all of a sudden comes in and boom it's back and to be honest his 200 breast has been better than his 100 breast during his comeback and he is a little frustrated he hasn't hit 59 yet while going 2:09 for the 200. We're gonna see Brendan at least as good as he was, I believe better than when he left the sport.

Peter Busch: Ian Thorpe's comeback is very interesting because he hasn't really done much and I wanna show this video that we have. This incredible, I don't know if it's a documentary or sort of behind the scenes making of those full bodysuits that Thorpe used to wear back in his heyday and it really now looking back at it makes you realized how ahead of the curve scientifically he and his team were and makes you wonder if that's why he was swimming so much faster than anybody at that time but now really can't touch anyone.

John Lohn: I'm interested to see where it is goes and yeah I don't if, I am not about what the fabric was made and then the material there so I let people judge from the video themselves. What I am concerned with is this. We don't know for sure what Gennadi Touretski is doing with Ian in terms of the workouts, how beat up he is. But at some point and their trials are coming at the end of March or the early April. At some point you need to see from Ian Thorpe a sign that says, hey, he is capable of re-kindling the past greatness that he had and we have not seen even an inkling of that possibility right now, which is why my doubts are as high as they are that he is not gonna make this team for Australia.

Peter Busch: You think he might not even make the team.

John Lohn: Correct. I don't think, maybe break it down in two ways. I did not see him making an individual event. I think it could very difficult for him to even scoop out a prelim spot for a freestyle relay. I'll be the first one to admit I'm wrong here if that happens. But just given what we've seen so far, my doubts have increased.

Peter Busch: Well in the way they are swimming right now that 4 x 100 freestyle relay they certainly don't need him. I mean they are fantastic right now with Magnussen and Sullivan so I think this might be a bust for him.

John Lohn: Yeah and it will be ashamed if this is how his career as star studded as it gets, legendary, that part will not be able to be taken away, what he has been able to accomplish. But you don't like to see someone who has had a success of Ian Thorpe in this way and if this thing blows up, a lot of people will remember how the career kind of crumpled that at the end in terms of not being able to make this complete.

Peter Busch: Yeah. The video is interesting though I mean it's definitely — I can't believe that we didn't see it at the time. I mean I know they thought it was weird. Look at this thing that goes down to his ankles and down to his wrists and it's made by Adidas and maybe that had something to do with why there wasn't more of an outcry at the time, because it wasn't one of the major suit manufacturers and the others weren't feeling they were their business was being infringed on necessarily, but just looking back at now what we know of how much the suits helped people in 2008 and 2009. It would be – it's interesting that to see.

John Lohn: It's definitely something that I'm sure that many will consider.

Peter Busch: Alright, I'm gonna coin a phrase here now in the Morning Swim Show. The Phelpte rivalry. I'm no longer saying Lochte and Phelps, just the Phelpte rivalry.

John Lohn: I like that.

Peter Busch: It's been a huge story for years now.

John Lohn: Yeah.

Peter Busch: But 2012 is sort of the culmination, it's gonna be their last Ali-Frazier. Phelps is going out. Lochte, we don't know, but he's peaking. How do you think this is gonna play out in the summer?

John Lohn: It's the number one thing I'm looking forward to. How do you not, after what we saw in Shanghai last year, that tremendous 200 medley clash that they had. You figure that's gonna reprise itself in London. You know Michael — this is the last go round. You know he wants to finish on top. He wants to go out with a bang. He's gonna put in the work to get this done. Lochte, though, the hunger is there for him to maintain that number one ranking he has had the last two years, and to have it sinched through an Olympiad would only elevate his legacy to close to where Michael depending on what Ryan does here, close to what Phelps has accomplished. I can't wait for the 200 IM, 200 freestyle showdowns. I'll get a better gauge I guess as we see what shakes out in the tune-ups to London on where things are. But its gonna be some special, special stuff.

Peter Busch: I just wonder if Michael has been brilliant with the way he just been building up to 2012. You know in 2009 we are sort of ragging on him for not being in the pool and he has – he has surpassed some expectations, you maybe in the fly in Rome but didn't do so well in the 200. 2010, I don't know if he's gonna do it you know, he's gotta kick it in to gear, got better as 2011 went on. I think he's just intentionally building it up to that moment, and Lochte is amazing as he's been over the past two years. He has really not gone any faster, he's just staying the same.

John Lohn: Well I think Ryan has gone faster if we look at the 200 freestyle, cause we have to take of some of those suits stuff out of this thing and so Ryan has gone faster. Going back to Michael though, yeah this is like Bob Bowman's the mad scientist in the lab playing with everything. Look Michael has nothing to prove in this sport he could have walked away after Beijing and nobody would have faulted him for that. So all that matters to them at this point is London and yeah, they're probably putting together a scheme, they're concocting their little lab experiment to make everything excel one last time on the biggest stage when all eyes are watching, and Michael can ride off into the sunset and there with no questioning if he does things the way that I'm sure Bob and he believe can be done that we may not ever see that ever again.

Peter Busch: I think Phelps' Olympic schedule though — talk about experimenting, is pretty much gonna be a mirror image of 2008 minus the 400 IM. I mean for all the talk and swimming different events, I don't see him doing any 100 back stroke, his not doing the 100 free. I think we're talking with 100, 200 fly, 200 free, 200 IM.

John Lohn: Yeah I agree with you that it's all they same except for that 400 IM and when I mean experimenting I more believe that they're doing the lab work of let's make sure everything peaks at the right time.

Peter Busch: Yeah, absolutely this could be the most important taper of his life. Okay do you see a surprise coming, either a swimmer or a country that you know sort of in the B level right now, but by the end of the London Olympics could be a superstar.

John Lohn: I'm not gonna say it's a B level because she surely isn't. You know when she won the world title in the 100 fly. But I just got done talking with Sarah Sjostrom for a magazine story coming up and the program that she has the ability to tackle now. She's definitely gonna her 100 fly, 100 free, 200 free. We just saw her go 53.0 100 freestyle. She might throw the 50 in there. So from multiple even standpoint which we haven't seen Sjostrom do before at least with four individual events she had a bunch of fourth place finishes of the worlds champs. But this is where we could see a girl on the podium multiple times and really come to the forefront of being one of the premiere women female swimmers of the world.

Peter Busch: I'm looking forward to seeing with Canada and Britain do.

John Lohn: Well Canada had a very strong 2011 to really set a nice framework for what they wanna accomplish in ‘12. There's no doubt about that. Hungary's had a great history through the years and I expect the Hungarians between Katinka Hosszu, Laszlo Cseh, Bence Biczo in the 200 fly. I expect a lot out of that country.

Peter Busch: England, they just gonna find a way to get a medal on one of the relays. I mean that would be a huge in front of the home country.John Lohn: Yeah. We saw in Beijing how amped up, how juiced the Chinese were to succeed in front of their home nation and nothing more so than that women's 200 butterfly. There's a lot of heat on the British to come through and not just to collect a handful of medals here individually but like you said to get the thing done in relay -relay wise which has been missing.

Peter Busch: John can't say juiced and Chinese in the same sentence anymore buddy.

John Lohn; Yeah, that was a slip huh.

Peter Busch: We should let our viewers know. You are a proud papa of new born twin girls. How are they?

John Lohn: Things are going amazing. I haven't come down from cloud nine, and neither has my wife, Dana. Taylor and Tiernan are their names, and we're hoping to have them home real soon if not by the time all this runs.

Peter Busch: Best of luck to you and your family in 2012, can't wait to see some great swimming. Thanks John.

John Lohn: Thanks Peter.

Peter Busch: That's John Lohn joining us in the FINIS monitor and that it is for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down into finish.

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