Tuesday August 28, 2012Troy Reflects on Olympic Experience, Looks Ahead to 2012-13
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The United States dominated the swimming competition at the Summer Olympic Games, capturing 31 total medals, including 16 golds.
Gregg Troy has had more than three weeks to process what his American team accomplished across the pond. The University of Florida swim coach, though, is entitled to double-dip his pride, given what the Gators accomplished in the pool at London.
“We probably don’t give ourselves enough credit,” Troy said Monday in his first news conference with UF media since wrapping up the Games. “We set up the first day.”
Think about it.
On Day 1 of the Games, former UF All-American Ryan Lochte won the 400-meter individual medley by 3.68 seconds. Another former Gator, Conor Dwyer, alongside Gainesville training partner Peter Vanderkay, bested their trials times to qualify for the 400 free style, then Elizabeth Beisel, the current Florida junior, trumped her qualifying time with a 4:31.27 in the 400 IM to earn a silver medal.
“As a Gator, I was pretty proud of what we did to set it up,” Troy said. “Those are big swims.”
And they were just the beginning of both what the Americans achieved and the obvious gratification Troy, working his fifth Olympic Games, took in seeing his nation’s athletes rise to the occasion.
Not just in the arena of competition, either.
“As an American, I thought some of the best things I saw ... the team showed a lot of class [with] the way they handled things. A lot of character,” he said. “It was very much a team effort. And there was a lot of up and down.”
That included Michael Phelps failing to medal in the very event Lochte ran away that first day. Throw in a couple of tough races for Lochte, whose expectations (internal and external) soared above any 10-meter diving platform.
But ultimately, of course, Phelps rose to his Olympic star status, reaching the podium six times to become the all-time Olympic medalist with 22, including 18 golds. Lochte won five medals in London, with two golds.
“Fantastic summer,” Troy said.
Now it’s time to dive back into the routine of a college season, but it was no surprise that most of the questions lobbed at Troy focused on Lochte, a Gainesville fixture since his 2004 freshman season, be it his performance at the Games, his future in the sport or decision to move his training to California.
On the Olympic Games, which Lochte boldly predicted would be his this year. Some predicted Lochte to have a Phelps-like Games, with five or six gold medals. Indeed, Lochte swam a difficult program -- especially at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., three weeks before the Games -- and it may have caught up to him:
• “Some of that is my fault. We’re basically about being the best you can be -- and he bit off a big program, there’s no two ways about it. Most people wouldn’t have even tried.”
On Lochte training in California with an eye toward the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro (when he’ll be 32 years old):
• “We’ve discussed this for a long time. He has a long-term contract with one of his major backers through 2016. It’s always been a little bit that we would drop the 400 [IM] after 2012. He really wanted to drop it after 2008. I thought that was a mistake; that he was still young enough that it was a wide-open field. He’s just now getting to the point where he’s showing more speed in other events. ... It’s always been get to 2012, after that, treat it a little differently and put more focus on racing faster more often.”
On Lochte’s numerous opportunities outside of swimming (some of which bring a smile to Troy's face):
• “Whether he’s going to be in TV or movies a little bit. He talks about that fashion thing. I don’t like any of his designs, but he’s got some pretty unique ideas. He’s progressed to the point where he has all kinds of options and the reality is things are much more available to him in a big city than they are in Gainesville and the ideal place is on the west coast.”
Meanwhile, here on the east coast, Troy and his 2012-13 Gators are back at work and already looking to the All-Florida Invite meet late next month. UF’s men finished eighth at the NCAA Championships last season, while the women checked in 10th.
Besides Beisel, the reigning national champ in 200 back, other 2012 Olympians returning include senior Sarra Lajnef (who represented Tunisia) and junior Hilda Luthersdottir (Iceland), and on the men’s side senior Sebastien Rousseau (South Africa) and sophomore Marcin Cieslak (Poland).