Swimming is one of those great Olympic sports we only follow closely every four years, when once-obscure athletes become overnight sensations.
Who can forget Mark Spitz, who was trained by the late Sherm Chavoor at Arden Hills Swim Club, winning seven gold medals in Munich in 1972? Ditto for the Sacramento region's Debbie Meyer and Summer Sanders.
Michael Phelps grabbed our attention and a piece of history with six golds in Athens in 2004 and eight more in Beijing four years later. In London for his fourth Olympics, Phelps needs just three medals to break the all-time record of 18, held by gymnast Larisa Latynina (1956-1964).
If not for Phelps, fellow American Ryan Lochte might be the best swimmer in the world. Is it Lochte's turn to put his imprint in our memories forever?
Almost before we've settled in for 16 days of nearly around-the-clock TV coverage, we'll find out today when Phelps vs. Lochte, the most-hyped rivalry of these Olympics, kicks off in the 400-meter individual medley final (11:30 a.m., but it won't be broadcast until NBC's prime-time show at 8 p.m.)
Tonight's prime time
Ch. 3, 8 p.m.-midnight
Swimming: Finals in men's and women's 400 IM, men's 400 freestyle, women's 4x100 free relay
Gymnastics: Men's team competition
Beach volleyball: First-round matches
For more TV listings, see Page C2; for a detailed schedule of events and complete TV listings, go to sacbee.com/olympics
Chloe Sutton, Roseville, swimming: The 400 freestyle qualifications begin Sunday at 3:35 a.m. If Sutton advances, the finals are at 12:50 p.m.
Mary Whipple, Orangevale, rowing: The veteran coxswain leads the women's 8 in heats Sunday starting at 3:50 a.m.
Will the U.S. men's basketball team be challenged in London?
No, they'll easily win the gold medal.
Yes, but they'll still win the gold medal.
Yes, and they won't win the gold medal.
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