There are more American media here in Beijing Wednesday morning (Tuesday night back on the East Coast) at the Water Cube than there's been all week. Why?
It's all got to be for Charlotte hometown boy Ricky Berens, right?
Well, not really. Not yet. Maybe in four or eight years. For now, though, they're basically all here (except me) to cover Michael Phelps, first and foremost. Phelps should win gold medals 4 and 5 tonight unless there's a huge upset -- he just kills people in the 200 butterfly, and the U.S. creams people in the 4x200 freestyle relay.
I just received this e-mail from David Marsh, the Mecklenburg Aquatic Club coach who's pretty plugged in and is in Beijing. He also sent it to some of the MAC people back home in Charlotte:
"Just got word from "inside" that Ricky has been selected to swim on the finals relay for the 800. This relay no doubt will (at the risk of sounding French) SMASH the world record. For all who have been affiliated with SwimMAC from the bubble days to the Latin pool project (ongoing project let us not forget) and even now in building for the future, take pride--- in Ricky, the USA, and yourself! This will be another big step for Ricky who continues to make Phelps-ish type strides."
We'll know in a couple of hours if David's words are correct. He's been right on target at this meet so far in every prediction I've heard from him. He's right about one thing: Berens is definitely swimming the final -- the third leg, to be exact. The order for the U.S. will be Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Berens and then Peter Vanderkaay as the anchor.