Ryan Lochte had an impressive SCM World Championship. I was very surprised that he was able to capture 6-gold medals in all. Even USA Today is pronouncing that Lochte is an "...8-medal threat for London" come 2012, which after such an amazing SCM World Championship, is not hyperbole nor exaggeration, but... BUT.... Yeah, BUT! Some forget that the eighth gold medal that Phelps won in Beijing was hand delivered to him by Jason Lezak and the rest of the great swims put forth in the 4x100 relay. He is going to need fellow world record holders in all the relays he swims to match or beat Phelps gold medal haul.
"If he brings his A-game to the Olympics I don't have a chance," said Austrian rival Markus Rogan, who handed Lochte a couple losses at a recent short-course meet.
Rogan, Hungary's Laszlo Cseh and Clary are shaping up as the top challengers to Lochte in the medley events, where Phelps' status is in question."He has nothing to prove, that's the problem," said Rogan, who is not even sure Lochte's performance in Dubai will motivate Phelps. "He needs a little bit of a bigger jolt." (Adrian) that are eager to get into that category.""I'm going to get right back in the pool," he said. "I'll take two or three days off for Christmas, but other than that it's right into training and then get ready for Shanghai."[Link]
I have no doubts that Lochte can achieve the same individual medal count as Phelps; (Read as sole-individual medal count as Phelps not including the relay medal count), but we are weak and losing ground in several disciplines as of late, namely: Breaststroke and backstroke. This will create significant adversity for our relays.
We need more breastrokers: "Paging, Ed Mosses, white courtesy telephone please!"
Aaron Peirsol has been to three Olympics and with medals earned in each of them he is definitely paced in the express line for the Swimming Hall of Fame but he is not immortal.
Matt Greevers is his current "American heir apparent" but in 2010 Greevers remained third-best in the world whereas, Camile LaCourt, and, Liam Tancock, owned the number one and two position respectively. In the 200-back it's all Ryan Lochte, Tyler Clary, and Rryosuke Irie. Consequently, we need to amped up Greevers in the sprints and find more backstrokers.