Jamie Squire/Getty Images
They say hindsight is 20/20, but I don't think hindsight was needed in this case.
Here's the deal. Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones were awarded their spots on the 4x100 free team by taking the top two spots in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. trials.
Michael Phelps was also a near-lock, having been on the previous two 4x100 Olympic teams, and well, because he's Michael Phelps.
That left the fourth and final spot on the team to be filled by either Ryan Lochte, or any one of the members of the relay team who posted a solid split in qualifying.
Enter Matt Grevers. The new Olympic-record holder in the 100-meter backstroke posted a sterling 47.54 split in the preliminaries and by all means deserved a spot in the finals.
However, the coaching staff went with Lochte who historically is not a sprinter, and was coming off of an already busy day in the pool (not to mention the 400 IM the day before). Additionally, at the U.S. trials in June, Lochte was recorded at 49.33 and 48.91 in the 100 free.
The final decision left the potential missing piece to a gold-medal-winning relay on the sidelines.