London 2012 Olympics Swimming Odds
Updated on July 31st, 2012
Two front line stories in the Men’s pool events have been Americans Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Thus far both men share a silver medal from the men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay but in the 400m Individual Medley Ryan Lochte claimed dominance by taking the gold medal with a healthy lead while Michael Phelps did not medal but came in fourth place.
So Phelps’ push to tie the Olympic record for most medals by one athlete had to wait until Tuesday July 31st. Sitting at 17 medals, Phelps could potentially tie and break the record Tuesday July 31st if he can medal in both the 200m Butterfly and the 4x200m Freestyle Relay he will be the new record holder. These two events are slated to Tuesday with morning heats and evening medal races. The 4x200m Relay heats will be at 11am London time and the finals are set to take place at 8:51pm London time. The Butterfly heats occurred on Monday and the finals for this race will be held at 7:49pm London tie Tuesday July 29th. This means that Phelps will have a full day of racing ahead of him. Likely the American team will qualify for the Relay finals without much difficulty; they have the best qualifying tie entering the Games. But one must wonder how much his Butterfly race will take out of him before the Relay finals. Or conversely; how much the relay may take from him before he defends his 200m Butterfly title?
Phelps has won every 200m Butterfly event in the Olympic or World Championships dating back to 2001. The odds favor Phelps to keep this streak going at 1/2 while his next closest competitors are Takeshi Matsuda (7/2) and Yin Chen (20/1). In the 4x200m Freestyle Relay the US men are favored to win with 1/4 odds but one has to wonder whether France should not be given better than 7/2 odds after they upset the US team by taking gold in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay earlier this week; plus France has a great freestyle specialists on their roster in Yannick Agnel. Moreover, it was US star Ryan Lochte who was passed by the French swimmer on the final 50m of the 4x100m Freestyle race which makes team USA seem more susceptible to loss when their poster boy is not getting the job done in the anchor position.
Regardless of the outcomes Tuesday, Wednesday August 1st will be a busy day for Ryan Lochte. He will kick off his 200m Backstroke heat around 10:30am London time where he will be the favorite at 2/7 odds with a qualifying time more than a second faster than the next best competitor. Then about an hour later the excitement will double when the 200m Individual Medley heats start in which both Lochte and Phelps will be competing. Lochte has the better qualifying time over Phelps by just sixteen hundreds of a second!
But here’s the even bigger catch, both the 200m Backstroke and the 200m IM finals are Thursday night and they are only about 30 minutes apart with the Backstroke first at 7:48pm London time. It’s time to wonder how tired Ryan Lochte will be going into the 200m IM. Watching the heats leading up to both these finals will help tell how hard Lochte is going to have to push in the Backstroke before a sure-to-be tight race with Phelps in the IM. But perhaps the playing field will be leveled to a degree, but not by much, as Phelps will have to swim a 100m Butterfly heat earlier in the day on Thursday but his semi-finals for that event will not be until after the 200 IM. The odds margins are not that close on the 200m IM swim. Ryan Lochte is favored at 2/5 while Phelps is second at 7/2. Expect this race to be much closer than the odds predict. Ryan Lochte’s close win of event at the 2011 Worlds plus his earlier win in the 400m IM at these games is sure to have left a bad taste in Phelps’ mouth; Phelps will be swimming hard for the upset.
Originally posted pre-opening ceremonies
The USA men have a number of choices in composing their 4x100m Medley relay team in the pool. However, the options are so strong that they are carrying 4/9 odds on winning the event. The American’s next closest rivals are Australia at 4/1 and Japan at 5/1. Germany will also contend for a medal at 6/1. In the 4x200m Freestyle relay the US is again the favorite at 2/7 but the second favorite is France at 3/1 and then China has 12/1 odds. There seems to be an overwhelming consensus that the USA will again dominate the pool events. No surprise here, in 2008 at Beijing the Americans won 31 pool medals, 12 Gold, 9 Sliver and 10 Bronze. Australia was a reasonably close second at 20 pool medals but only 6 Gold. Moreover, Phelps chose to drop out of the 200m freestyle event to focus more energy on the team relays. The one chance the world seems to have to beat the American men in the 4x100 Freestyle relay where the Australians have 2/3 odds over the Americans are given 7/4 odds.
The real excitement in the pool will come between Michael Phelps and US teammate Ryan Lochte. Lochte is an up-and-comer who is favored above Phelps in every event that the two compete in. Moreover, in the other event s the two will compete in they have less than even odds to win making these two men the swimmers to bet on this year.
Phelps is the famous American swimmer who took home 8 Gold medals in 2008 at the Beijing Summer Olympics. That brought his all time medal count to 16; he won 6 Gold medals and 2 Bronze medals in 2004. If Phelps can snag three more medals this year he will be the new Olympic record holder for total medals. Larisa Latynina, a Soviet gymnast is the current record holder at 18 medals. Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman has said that Michael has been working extra hard since his loss in the US Olympic time trials and is now in great form and very focused. Gregg Troy, head coach of the US men’s swimming team and personal coach for Ryan Lochte, echoed Bowman’s praise for Phelps’ work effort and performance in practice as of late. Phelps has a great chance to win his three needed medals as he is entering seven events.
At the US time trials this year Phelps beat Lochte in the 200m individual medley but Lochte won the 400m medley. These two have been very competitive in the water but both claim to be friendly out of the pool. The 200IM and 400IM races will see the most competition of all swim events. Lochte and Phelps have been trading wins on the international stage over the past year and both will be looking to stand out. Phelps has admitted that Lochte brings everything out of him in the pool and their matching ages, 27, makes the comparison even better. Last summer Lochte won 5 Gold medals and a Bronze at the world championship; Lochte beat Phelps in two events at those championships. Then in the US time trials Phelps beat Lochte in three of four events. No one will ever doubt the greatness of Michael Phelps, but you can bet Phelps and Lochte will want to know who’s the better man come race day in London.