She is having fun when she talks about these plans, serious about her competitive goals, but also clear on the fact that achieving them, at least that early, is at best a remote possibility. But the Olympics were clearly a huge positive influence on her during a summer when she could easily have gone down a less healthy path, so indulging in fantasies surrounding Rio is a way for her to ground herself in something good for her.
Not to mention that she's at an age when fantasy is both fraught and immensely important. Her interest in Michael Phelps is pretty much the first fannish interest of a teenage sort that she has had in anyone, male or female. I think she recognizes, though, that he may not be the best role model, much less boyfriend, given his partying ways. To paraphrase her comment from today, "It's like he was saying, 'I can smoke marijuana and still beat you all most of the time.'" That's why, as she was looking at photos of the Copa Cabana tonight, I decided to draw her attention to another potential interest, someone who is likely to make the American Olympic team in 2016: Nathan Adrian.
Once Skylar remembered what he looked like, it didn't take long for her to endorse this alternative. The fact that he was a Cal Bear was a plus, too. Then we watched his Olympic performances. It was his manner after winning his gold, both in the pool and being interviewed afterwards, that really sold her (along with thousands and thousands of other people): Given the fact that extensive internet searching reveals nothing at all about Adrian's past girlfriends, though, he may not be available. When asked directly, as in this interview from four months prior to London, he says he has "no time." But Lochte and Phelps haven't had any time either, have they?