The Olympic 12 months is right here. Once more. Perhaps. And we’re kicking off the 12 months 2021 with a countdown of the highest 100 girls and prime 100 males in world-level swimming heading into the Olympic 12 months.
Who’re the highest 100 female and male swimmers that you must find out about, that you must watch, with the largest occasion in swimming lower than 6 months away.
We’ll break down the listing into a number of installments, so keep tuned as we proceed with our lists.
We’ve positioned a heavy precedence on particular person Olympic medal potential and world file potential, however we’ve additionally weighed potential for impression at different world-level occasions like Brief Course Worlds, the ISL season, and the World Cup. These lists are, by nature, subjective. Should you disagree, depart your ideas/ranks within the feedback.
This group of 10 girls are moving into critical medal contenders for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Video games. It turns into the fascinating meeting-ground of a number of the greats of their era, like Katinka Hosszu or Federica Pellegrini, who are actually into their 30s, with younger rising swimmers like Minna Atherton and Simona Quadarella, who could possibly be breakthrough stars in Tokyo.
#20: Minna Atherton, Australia – At solely 20 years previous, Atherton has already been via the complete rollercoaster. After breaking a brief course meters World Report within the 100 backstroke within the first season of ISL, she roared to the highest of the mountain of ladies’s backstroke as the plain subsequent challenger to American Regan Smith. However then her personal countrymate Kaylee McKeown, solely 19, rushed up that mountain as effectively. The ladies’s backstrokers are going to be completely brutal in Tokyo (it appears like we’re saying this yearly). Atherton nonetheless hasn’t actually proven the lengthy course mettle but of the swimmers forward of her, although she did go a 50 free finest in 2020 (25.72). In every other era, Atherton could be increased, however on this one, with this backstroke discipline, she could be 58-low/2:05 and nonetheless miss a medal.
#19: Yui Ohashi, Japan – The 25-year previous Ohashi received a bronze medal within the 400 IM on the 2019 World Championships, and is a viable 400 IM candidate on the Tokyo Olympic Video games – particularly in entrance of a house crowd. There’s an enormous stratification within the girls’s 400 IM – The highest Three on this planet (all on this grouping – together with Hosszu and Ye) are forward of the world on an enormous hole from the remainder of the world (a bunch that features the 2 Canadians, Sydney Pickrem and Emily Overholt). Ohashi had a robust ISL season as effectively, so there’s no indicators that the pandemic has slowed her down. The one swimmer to throw a wrench in is Melanie Margalis, who swam 4:32 in Des Moines heading into quarantines.
#18: Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong – On the 2019 World Championships, Haughey completed 4th within the 200 free. One of many trio forward of her was Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom – who with a damaged elbow, may be capable to get again into some 50 or 100 type by Tokyo, however who nearly actually received’t be racing the 200. That places Haughey in a agency medal place – with out even contemplating the quantity and magnitude of finest occasions she’s swum in brief course since then, leaving her now because the #2 performer in SCM historical past (behind solely Sjostrom). The ladies’s 200 free doesn’t have an apparent contender who’s going to go 1:53 low and run away with it, however there could possibly be a complete lot of 1:54s within the discipline in Tokyo. Haughey’s ISL-sharpened racing abilities will serve her effectively in a detailed race. She’s an out of doors shot at a 100 free medal too – a race that has had some sudden podiums at a number of current main meets.
#17: Kylie Masse, Canada – The World Report holder within the 100 again earlier than Kathleen Baker, and nonetheless solely 25, Masse is in the identical boat as Baker (see under). The most important distinction? She doesn’t have the third occasion to pivot to love Baker does. That being stated, she’s nonetheless the two-time defending World Champion within the 100 backstroke (although Regan Smith didn’t swim that occasion individually in Gwangju). Her 200 backstroke, the place she received bronze in 2019, actually has been coming alongside properly as effectively. She has the good thing about not needing to battle via a grueling June trials meet to make her nationwide workforce, as she’s already been pre-selected by Canada. Then again, racing alternatives in Canada have been few-and-far-between. Nonetheless, that didn’t harm her within the ISL season – the place she was excellent as the highest scorer for the enlargement Toronto Titans franchise. Masse completed the common season ranked 14th in MVP scoring league-wide.
#16: Federica Pellegrini, Italy – Pellegrini is form of just like the Simone Manuel of the 200 free: you retain selecting in opposition to her, she retains successful, and in some unspecified time in the future that must be acknowledged. The 2-time defending World Champion and the World Report holder, Pellegrini must be the favourite within the 200 free for Tokyo – even when the indicators need us to all consider otherwise: age, motivation, only a 1:59.zero in her final race in Geneva, Switzerland. Pellegrini was a history-maker in Italian swimming. She was the nation’s youngest Olympic medalist in any sport in 2004. She was the nation’s first feminine Olympic gold medalist in swimming. She’s the one Italian swimmer to have set World Information in multiple occasion. She’s already enshrined in gold within the historical past books of Italian sport and tradition: if she ends her profession with another Olympic gold medal, they could effectively crown her queen in Italy.
#15: Emma McKeon, Australia – When final we noticed the 26-year previous McKeon race internationally, it was the 2019 ISL season and she or he was among the many league’s finest. It appeared as if McKeon was perched and ready to emerge from her standing of racking up relay medals at main meets to rising from the shadows of the Campbell sisters as a standalone star. Australia didn’t get to compete in season 2 of the ISL, however there’s indicators that the momentum continued anyway. In March, simply earlier than lockdowns started, she swam 56.36 within the 100 fly, which was her finest time for the reason that 2017 World Championships. She additionally swam 52.46 within the 100 free in December, which was simply .05 seconds wanting her finest time.
#14: Kathleen Baker, United States – Baker was one of many hardest swimmers to position on this rating. On the one hand, till Regan Smith’s outburst on the 2019 World Championships, Baker was the World Report holder within the 100 backstroke (58.00). Then again, a youth explosion has now seen two youngsters go underneath that 58.00 – Regan Smith and Kaylee McKeown, with one other American teen Phoebe Bacon nipping at her heels. On the third hand, Baker herself continues to be solely 23 – coming into conventional primetime for worldwide swimmers. And on the fourth hand, Baker appears to have seen the writing on the wall and actually begun focusing laborious on her 200 IM, the place a February 2020 2:08 in France set off some critical sirens. And that’s the reason we’ve left Baker so excessive, regardless of the challengers forward. She now seems like a possible 200 IM medalist, with the ‘upside’ of believable backstroke medals besides.
#13: Ye Shiwen, China – At solely 24-years previous, Ye is already going to her third Olympic Video games. After her big 200 IM/400 IM double gold in London in 2012, Ye pale from sight for a number of years however has re-emerged as once more one of many world’s finest. She received silvers in each IM races on the 2019 World Championships, plus was 4th within the 200 breaststroke. If Hosszu doesn’t discover her type, Ye is in line for not solely a double gold medal end, however a potential three medal end.
#12: Simona Quadarella, Italy – Quadarella was among the many swimmers who benefited from Katie Ledecky’s sickness on the 2019 World Championships, snagging gold within the girls’s 1500 free. However the context of that swim, with a silver within the 800 free and a 2017 bronze within the 1500 free besides, shouldn’t dissuade from understanding that Quadarella is the world’s second-best feminine distance swimmer proper now. Whereas we don’t get to see Ledecky race a lot this present day, in any type of correct type she’s going to dominate the 800 and 1500 freestyle occasions, and we all know that. On paper, although, Quadarella is the favourite for silver in each of these races.
#11: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – Arguably the most effective feminine swimmer of the 2010s, and inarguably one of many prime 3, Hosszu is the double defending World Champion within the 200 IM and 400 IM. However I’ll admit that we have been chilled a bit by her ISL efficiency. We all know Hungarians have been again within the water for some time previous to the beginning of that season, and but Hosszu actually struggled – in a format that she ought to dominate. She hasn’t been her former in-season dominant self in lengthy course both – at her most up-to-date meet in Good, she swam 2:13.eight within the 200 IM, 1:01.eight within the 100 fly, 4:42 within the 400 IM, and a couple of:13.Three within the 200 again. All we actually know that this implies for positive is that Hosszu isn’t her identical win-everything-all-the-time self that we’ve seen in prior iterations. She nonetheless swam not less than one spherical of a whopping 11 occasions at that meet, she simply didn’t do it in addition to we’ve seen her do it previously. Do I nonetheless suppose she’ll win not less than two medals in Tokyo? Undoubtedly, as a result of she’s nonetheless that versatile. However I don’t suppose we are able to declare her a lock for any gold medals primarily based on current proof.