Men to watch:
The Australian Team is spearheaded by Port Macquarie's James Magnussen. 'The Missile' has many shots at gold. He enters the 4x100m freestyle relay and 100m freestyle as the reigning World Champion and eyes the 100m world record (46.91s). The 21-year-old will also contest the 50m freestyle and most likely the 4x100m medley relay. He would match the feats of Beijing golden girl Stephanie Rice if he wins three gold medals.
Always close by Magnussen's side is James Roberts. At Trials 'The Rocket', who shares Magnussen's birthday, clocked the same blistering time Magnussen recorded at the World Championships, setting up a real possibility for an Aussie 100m freestyle quinella. Defending 4x100m freestyle World Champions Matt Targett and Olympic silver medallist Eamon Sullivan join the boys for an explosive relay. The 4x200m freestyle team is also shaping up nicely after finishing fifth at the 2011 World Championships.
Medal chances in backstroke and breaststroke respectively, Beijing dual medallist Hayden Stoeckel and Christian Sprenger fire up the versatile Team, promising a strong medley relay. Youngsters David McKeon, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Jayden Hadler, Cameron McEvoy and debutant Chris Wright were blistering at the 2012 National Championships to end the Olympic comebacks of Olympic Champions Michael Klim, Ian Thorpe and Geoff Heugill. The new generation has arrived and the men are surging in time for 2012 while the women look set to continue their sizzling Olympic Games form in London.
Women to watch:
The Aussies rose out of the water as a female superpower in Athens and Beijing and are keen to stay on top. Proven champions Leisel Jones, Stephanie Rice, Jessicah Schipper and Libby Trickett join 16-year-old Yolane Kukla and the first siblings to represent Australia since 1972, Bronte and Cate Campbell in an exciting Australian line-up.
First off the blocks is Rice, defending her 400m individual medley crown on day one. The niggling shoulder will be tested again when she defends her 200m individual medley crown alongside World Championships silver medallist in the event, Alicia Coutts. Coutts won a remarkable five gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and won the 100m butterfly at Olympic Trials ahead of Schipper who is also finding renewed form in the 200m fly.
2011 World Championships silver medallist Kylie Palmer races in three individual events (200m, 400m, 800m freestyle) with friend and rival Bronte Barratt by her side in two (200m, 400m). Dual World Championship silver medallist Belinda Hocking and Olympic relay gold medallist Emily Seebohm will challenge strongly for the podium in backstroke, with Jones and Leiston Pickett contenders in the breaststroke.
The relays will be strong for Australia as defending champions in the 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle. The experience of Trickett, 25-year-old Olympian Melanie Schlanger and Beijing bronze medallist Cate Campbell is exciting for Australia's 4x100m freestyle hopes.
Australia's open water warriors Melissa Gorman and Ky Hurst placed fourth and fifth respectively at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. By placing in the top ten the Beijing Olympic pair earned 2012 Olympic qualification places. Their 10km race at the London Olympics will be held in Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake, a course filled with tough turns. Both racers are brimming for the physical challenge, with Hurst declaring his aim is to medal at his final Games.
Medal events (34): There are four different strokes in swimming as well as the individual medley and relay events. Men and women contest the same Olympic distances with the exception of the 800m freestyle (women only) and 1500m freestyle (men only). Australia will be represented in every event.
Freestyle- 50m, 100m, 200m , 400m, women's 800m, men's 1500m
Backstroke- 100m, 200m
Breaststroke- 100m, 200m
Butterfly- 100m, 200m
Individual Medley- 200m, 400m
Relays- 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle, 4x100m medley
Open Water- 10km
Each race has a maximum of eight swimmers. Preliminary heats in the 50m, 100m and 200m events lead into semi finals and finals based on the fastest times. In relays and individual events of 400m or more, the eight fastest finishers in the preliminaries advance directly to the finals.
What is the false start rule?
A false start results in automatic disqualification. In relays, a team is disqualified if a member of the team leaves the blocks more than 0.03 of a second before the team member in the water touches the wall.
What is the order of strokes in the individual medley?
Athletes in the 200m and 400m individual medley events must swim butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke then freestyle.
What is the order of strokes in the medley relay?
The medley relay consists of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly then freestyle.
AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC HISTORY
Australia's Olympic swimming history is superb with 178 medals - a spectacular 58 gold. Australia's first Olympic swimmer was Freddy Lane in Paris 1900 where he won two gold medals.
Since then, Australia's swimmers have gone on to incredible Olympic greatness, sweeping the pool of medals and records. Legends such as Murray Rose, Jon Henricks, Dawn Fraser, Lorraine Crapp and Jon Konrads became household names in the 1950s and 60s.
Kieren Perkins and Susie O'Neill were the big names at the Barcelona and Atlanta Games but it was the Sydney 2000 Games where Australia returned to the top echelon of Olympic swimming nations with a swag of medals going to Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, O'Neill and the men's relay teams.
At the Athens and Beijing Games it was the Aussie women who dominated and established themselves as the world swimming superpower and the ones to beat in London.
To read more about Australia’s Olympic swimming history, click here>>>