Olympics swimming: Five athletes to watch

Team USA and Team Australia traditionally dominate in the pool, and London should see a renewal of that rivalry. But there are also a few surprises:

2. Kosuke Kitajima, Japan

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Kosuke Kitajima competes in the 200 meter breaststroke final during the Santa Clara International Grand Prixin June in Santa Clara, Calif.

Two swimmers at the London Games have an early crack at becoming the first male swimmer to win a gold medal in the same event at three consecutive Games: Phelps and Kosuke Kitajima.

And both will have multiple opportunities.

Phelps will have the first turn. He swims the 400-meter individual medley on the competition's first night. If he fails, Kitajima is a strong favorite to do it the following night in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Kitajima has also won the 200-meter breaststroke at the past two Games, while Phelps has also won the 200-meter individual medley, the 100-meter butterfly, and 200-meter butterfly in Athens and Beijing. Kitajima's time in the 200-meter breaststroke at trials this year in Japan was the fastest recorded since swimming authorities banned super-fast bodysuits in 2010.

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