Key dates: July 29, 400 freestyle and 100 butterfly; July 30, 100 backstroke Venue: Olympic Park Aquatics Centre Big story: The hype machine should be in full motion revolving around Missy Franklin (above), a bubbly 17-year-old from Colorado. Franklin is entered in four individual events, favored to win the 100 and 200 backstroke and not expected to medal in the 100 and 200 freestyle, but she has come so far so fast that projection is impossible. If she suffers from any Olympic jitters, they should show up in her first event, the 100 back, with finals on the third day of the competition. Top U.S. prospects: In addition to Franklin, look to Rebecca Soni, who should do well in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, even though she was upset in the 100 in the trials. Dana Vollmer set the American record in the 100 butterfly. If she can drop a half a second, she can set the world record. Jessica Hardy, a Long Beach swimmer left off the team in 2008 after a positive drug test she traced to a contaminated supplement, is strong in the breaststroke but qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Others to watch: Becky Adlington was the only British swimmer -- male or female -- to win gold in Beijing. She won the 400 and 800 free; the pressure is on to repeat in home water. Stephanie Rice, perhaps the most popular Olympian in swimming-mad Australia, will defend her Beijing gold medals in the 200 and 400 IM. Rice, who had shoulder surgery last year, tweets her own bikini and glamour shots. Little-known fact: Vollmer's mother did not just bring a cheering section to the pool to support her daughter. Mom brought a defibrillator to every meet for four years, while Vollmer experienced symptoms of a potentially fatal heart condition called long QT syndrome.
Clive Rose/Getty Photo