Michael Phelps loomed over the pool at the past four Summer Olympics, a figure so transcendent it was hard for anyone else to get their proper due.
He’s retired now, leaving a giant void in his wake.
Not to worry.
From Caeleb Dressel to Katie Ledecky, from Adam Peaty to Ariarne Titmus, from Katinka Hosszu to home-country favorite Daiya Seto, myriad swimmers are capable of playing a leading role in the post-Phelps era.
“Obviously, losing Michael was huge for this team, but we haven’t had him since 2016,” said American breaststroke star Lilly King. “We always do great, so I don’t know why we would think it wasn’t going to be great just because Michael’s not there.”
King stirred up the already heated rivalry with the Australians by making a bold prediction for the U.S. women.
“I think the women, if we have the meet we can have, can win every single individual gold,” she said. “That would be pretty cool, right?”
Not so cool for the Aussies, who are eager to shine after failing to capture an individual women’s gold at the 2016 Rio Games.
They turned in some brilliant performances at their country’s Olympic trials, led by Kaylee McKeown setting a world record in the 100-meter backstroke.
But really keep an eye on Titmus, a 20-year-old known as “The Terminator.” She made it clear she plans to challenge Ledecky’s dominance in the…