Michael Phelps and Ricky Berens both won big events on the final night of the Charlotte UltraSwim -- Phelps to avoid a shutout at the UltraSwim, and Berens to win his first event at the meet in about 10 years of trying.
Those two should be teammates on the 2012 Olympic team -- Phelps of course will make it and Berens will be favored to make it in either the 100 or 200 freestyle (or both).
Phelps had a down meet here for him -- he won only once in three events and, startingly, finished sixth in one of them -- but he's a gamer and surely will improve his stroke when it really matters.
But keep an eye on this name, too -- Scot Robison. He's also from Charlotte. At 22, he's a year younger than Berens, and hasn't been as highly publicized because he didn't make the 2008 Olympic team. However, he has improved to the point where he's on the 2011 U.S. team that will go to the world championships in Shanghai, and he's a definite contender for 2012 as well. Berens and Robison were the only two swimmers to break 50 seconds in the 100 free Sunday night, both going slightly over 49.
Robison went to Virginia, where he was an outstanding swimmer, and will continue to train in Charlottesville as he attempts to make a run for those same Olympics. He's got a shot, as do several members of SwimMAC Carolina's Team Elite (Cullen Jones and Nick Thoman prominent among them).
Bottom line: Charlotte should once again have a strong connection once again to the USA swimming team that represents America in 2012 at the London Olympics.
6 months ago