Under the Radar: Swimming out of the Shadows

Christopher Martinez, Staff Writer

Every four years we are treated to the Olympics and mass of the best athletes from around the world competing against each other for the gold. Sadly every four years is when one sport in particular stands out among the rest as the United States sport to watch which is swimming.

With the Olympic time standards being released a few weeks ago and the trials taking place next summer it brings up a question: who do we turn to in the swimming world now that iconic Michael Phelps is gone?

Looks like everyone will have to wait till next summer to see what swimmer steals their summer of fame at the 2020 Olympic games held in Tokyo, Japan.

Not until recently has swimming slowly crept from outside the shadow of the Olympics as people slowly move away from basketball and other sports during the games to tune into the aquatic centers events.

Although every four years swimming has the biggest platform to highlight and show off what the sport can give, as soon as the games end its back to the shadows for another four years.

Before the Olympics debut the only swimming you can view on television is college swimming and mostly division one swimming is aired.

It wasn’t til 2008 when “The Race” changed the face of swimming forever, In beijing the Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay would change swimming forever.

France coming into the race as a favorite and the United States the underdog.

The Men’s team consisted of Michael Phelps, Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak and Garrett Weber-Gale.

There had been articles posted in regards to this race and tensions had grown. This caught the attention of viewers as they tuned in to watch what they took as a recreational sport to an actual competitive sport.

This race had brought the American underdog spirit into the sport which draws Americans into a sport.

The Americans started the race off trialing to the Australian team as the first leg came into the finish.

The second and third leg had put the Americans into second place. Leaving the anchor leg to be swam by Jason Lezak a local swimmer from Irvine California.

He finished with a split of 46.06 the fastest split ever swam at the Olympics and out touched the France team by eight-one hundredths of a second (0.08).

This race single-handedly created and helped propel swimming into the spotlight of swimming. Fortunately swimming has began to pick up steam and is seen more as a sport by many.

Many swim clubs have began to open up all around the area thanks to what happened in the pool in 2008.