U.S. Olympic swimming rookies prove their mettle with medals in Rio

U.S. Olympic swimming rookies prove their mettle with medals in Rio

Olympic rookies Kathleen Baker, Lilly King and Simone Manuel with veteran Dana Vollmer

Rookies made up about two-thirds of the 47-strong U.S. Olympic Swim Team, and much was made about what their lack of Games-time experience would mean for the team. The first-timers proved to the country and the world that from now on, they should let their medals do the talking: U.S. swimmers brought home 33 total medals (16 gold, eight silver and nine bronze).

A total of 24 of those U.S. swimmers making their Olympic debuts in Rio, or 77 percent, are coming home from Rio with medals:  

U.S.’ first-time Olympians coming home from Rio with medals:

Maya DiRado: 2 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze

Lilly King: 2 golds

Simone Manuel: 2 golds, 2 silvers

Melanie Margalis: 1 gold

Katie Meili: 1 gold, 1 bronze

Cierra Runge: 1 gold

Leah Smith: 1 gold, 1 bronze

Olivia Smoliga: 1 gold

Abbey Weitzeil: 1 gold, 1 silver

Kelsi Worrell: 1 gold

Gunnar Bentz: 1 gold

Jack Conger: 1 gold

Kevin Cordes: 1 gold

Caeleb Dressel: 2 golds

Townley Haas: 1 gold

Ryan Held: 1 gold

Chase Kalisz:: 1 silver

Cody Miller: 1 gold, 1 bronze

Ryan Murphy: 3 gold

Blake Pieroni: 1 gold

David Plummer: 1 gold, 1 bronze

Josh Prenot: 1 silver

Tom Shields: 1 gold

Clark Smith: 1 gold

And even when they didn’t win any medals, the first-timers still proved they made the team to do a job. Four additional first-time Olympic swimmers made the final, even if they didn’t land on the podium.

Best finishes for first-time Olympians without medals:

Hali Flickinger: seventh (200m butterfly)

Jay Litherland: fifth (400m individual medley)

Jacob Pebley: fifth (200m backstroke)

Jordan Wilimovsky: fourth (1500m freestyle) and fifth (open water 10k)

And rookies Molly Hannis and Sean Ryan made statements with their swims. Hannis made the semifinals of the 200m breaststroke while Ryan placed 14th in the open water 10k from a field of 26 swimmers.

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