Another Look at Nathan Adrian; Lohn Lineup for Distance Freestyle Events

Column by John Lohn, Swimming World senior writer

BASKING Ridge, New Jersey, October 24. FOLLOWING last summer's World Championships in Shanghai, where he didn't capture any individual medals, there was some surprise over the performances of Nathan Adrian. A year removed from dominating showings at the Pan Pacific Championships, Adrian was expected to contend for a pair of gold medals.

Ultimately, Adrian finished fourth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 freestyle, as Cesar Cielo prevailed in the shorter distance and James Magnussen threw down the gauntlet in the two-lap event. Will Adrian finish off the podium if he qualifies for the 2012 Olympics in London? Officially, we'll know that answer in less than a year. It says here, though, that Adrian will have some hardware draped around his neck.

In a recent sitdown interview with Swimming World, which will air shortly at SwimmingWorld.TV, Adrian discussed his performance over the summer and his preparation for the Olympic Trials and, hopefully, the Olympic Games. Adrian indicated that he and coach Dave Durden tinkered with a few things heading to Shanghai, but will return to the process that worked so well leading into Pan Pacs.

More important, Adrian sounded focused and determined to regain the status he acquired in 2010. He admitted to enjoying the chase of the sport, stating: "I like being the hunter more than being the hunted." The translation: Adrian understands that Magnussen threw up a target for the opposition, and Adrian is anxious to close the gap.

If the United States intends on repeating its Olympic title in the 400 freestyle relay from Beijing, it will need Adrian to be in peak form and a man capable of dropping the hammer at the biggest moment. While Adrian didn't have the World Champs many expected, there's no reason to believe he won't return to Pan Pacs form, where he twice dispatched Cielo. Count on it: Adrian will rise again.

**Wanted to get some discussion going on all-time finals, so during the next several weeks, we'll ask readers to put together historical eight-person championship finals in specific events. Fill out the field based on the greatest swimmers in history and post it in the comments section.

This Week: Men's 1500 Freestyle/Women's 800 Freestyle.

The Lohn Lineup (Alphabetical order): Arne Borg; Mike Burton; Brian Goodell; Grant Hackett; Stephen Holland; John Konrads; Kieren Perkins; Vladimir Salnikov.

The field for this event was selected from incredible depth, and there are a few names that certainly can be argued for inclusion. For one, Murray Rose isn't on the final list, although he's a lock for the 400 free. Stephen Holland got the nod over Rose due to his several world records, which spanned a number of years. Meanwhile, Sun Yang will be on this list in the future, provided his career arc continues on its current path.

The Lohn Lineup (Alphabetical order): Rebecca Adlington; Brooke Bennett; Janet Evans; Michelle Ford; Ragnhild Hveger; Ilsa Konrads; Debbie Meyer; Tracey Wickham.

This was another tough one to sort through, which isn't unexpected when dealing with some all-time great performers. In terms of Ragnhild Hveger, she held the world record for 17 years in the early part of the last century.

**Considering what she accomplished in Shanghai, we knew of Missy Franklin's special talent. Still, it was startling to see her first world record at the Berlin stop of the World Cup circuit. Really, Franklin continues to raise the bar concerning her potential and what she potentially could deliver is … well, let's not go there quite yet.

Franklin figures to embrace a schedule that could have her contesting seven events at the London Olympics – the 100 and 200 freestyles, both backstrokes and three relays. Through her multi-event schedules in Grand Prix meets and the World Cup, her ability to handle an aggressive agenda should not be doubted. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

**We'll end this weekly column with a simple tribute: RIP Fran.

Follow John Lohn on Twitter: @JohnLohn