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The Top 15 U.S. Male Swimmers Before World Championship Trials

It's hard to believe it, but the US Trials for this summer's World Championships are already fast approaching. While the top meeting in the United States usually takes place between mid-June and late July, this year's meeting will be held April 26-30 in Greensboro, NC. The dates were not changed after the Fukuoka meeting was postponed until July 2023 and then a new worlds in Budapest was put on the calendar for this June.

At the Tokyo Olympics, American male swimmers earned six individual gold medals and two more gold medals in the relay, but only six individuals reached the podium. The Americans were completely out of medals in the breaststroke events, as well as the two events that had been dominated by the retired Michael Phelps for a decade and a half. Additionally, an American men's relay finished on the podium for the first time.

Before the five-day qualifying meet begins, here are the top-15 U.S. male swimmers ranked based on their abilities in the long-duration pool and their chances to medal at the world championships. Of course, comparing event swimmers is a very imperfect science, and we must weigh past years' achievements against the results of the NCAA Championships, held last month, as well as the ISL and Short Course World Championships in December, which were held last month. Means to present the result of long course based on short course.

Many of the decisions on this list were tough calls, but the clear leader among the top swimmers in the country and the world is 25-year-old Floridian Caleb Dressel.

1. Caleb Dressel

Dressel is the dominant swimmer in the world, and he has been since 2017, when he won a record seven gold medals at the world championships. He has won individual golds in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly at the last three major events: Worlds in 2017 and 2019 (he also won the 50 fly in 2019) and then the Tokyo Olympics, where he became just the third man after Phelps and Mark Spitz to do so. Swimmers who have won three or more individual gold medals in a single Olympics. He has appeared in only two editions of the World Championships, but his 13 gold medals in that competition are already fourth in history behind Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky. Dressel's main 100 free rival Kyle Chalmers will miss Worlds, but he still faces challengers including Hungarian butterfly star Kristof Milch. Still, barring anything surprising in Greensboro, Dressel will be the world's No. 1 swimmer going into this year's Worlds.

2. Ryan Murphy

It was a tough call for the second spot on this list, but the choice is Ryan Murphy, one of the top backstrokers in the world as he won Olympic gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 2016 Olympics. Murphy hasn't won an individual Olympic or world title since then, but he has consistently been on international podiums year after year, while also providing the key leadoff leg for the US men's medley relay that won Olympic gold in Tokyo. Made a world record. He will be heavily favored to win the 100 and 200 back at the American Trials, and if he does so, he will become the gold-medal favorite in both events for Worlds. Neither of the swimmers who defeated Murphy in Tokyo (Evgeni Rylov in both events and Kliment Kolesnikov in the 100 back) would be in attendance because FINA had banned all Russian athletes following the country's invasion of Ukraine. So this year could be Murphy's best shot at making a run at that elusive individual world title.

3. Bobby Fink

Bobby Finke could make an easy case for No. 2 because he was one of only three American swimmers (Dressel and Ledecky were the others) to win multiple individual gold medals in the pool at Tokyo. Fink scored surprising come-from-behind victories in the 800 freestyle and 1500 freestyle, becoming the first American gold medalist in the men's distance running since Mike O'Brien in 1984. 1650-yard free at the NCAA Championships, a race he called "one of the slowest miles I've ever run". Distance running is relatively short for the United States behind Finke, so he'll certainly be favored to win both at the Trials, and depending on his event lineup, he could also be a factor in the 400 free and/or 400 IM. Can Fincke is expected to once again square off with Florian Wellbrock, Mykhailo Romanchuk and Gregorio Paltrinieri for the world titles in the 800 and 1500 in June.

4. Chase Kalisz

In Tokyo, Chase Kalisz won the first gold medal in the pool and the first for the United States in any event, as he captured the 400 IM title, going 1–2 with training partner Jay Litherland of Georgia. Have become. Kalisz has previously won world titles in the 200 IM as well as his signature 400 IM. However, Kalisz is a wildcard this year. He hinted last summer that he might move away from swimming the 400 IM in the future, and he hasn't competed in the event in a long time since Tokyo. He posted some solid swims at the most recent TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, including a win in the 200 butterfly and third-place finishes in the 200 breaststroke and 200 IM, so it's unclear what to expect from him in Greensboro. Of course, Kalisz was a wildcard entering the Trials last year after a down year in 2019 when he was dealing with an (then unknown) injury, and he went on to become an Olympic champion.

5. Kieran Smith

When Kieran Smith qualified for his first Olympic team in the 400 freestyle last year, he expressed confidence that he would be able to lower the time and compete at the event in Tokyo. He was right, and he won the individual bronze medal for his efforts. He also qualified for the 200 free final in Tokyo, and he led the American men's 800 free relay in 1:44.74, the fastest leadoff split in the field and making Smith the third fastest American ever in the event. It was good enough to make. But Smith's senior-year NCAA championships did not go as planned as he finished fourth in the 500-yards, an event where he holds the fastest time in history, and fifth in the 200 free, where he was defending Was the champion. Smith posted a solid fourth-place performance in the 200 back, and she led Florida to a dramatic victory in the 200 free relay, but she'll need to channel an Olympic version of herself this year to return to international contention.

6. Michael Andrew

Michael Andrew's Olympic debut didn't go as planned as he didn't finish on the podium for any of his individual events, but Andrew, who turned 23 on Monday, is now well established on the international scene. Andrew was ranked first in the world in the 200 IM and third in the 100 breaststroke before the Olympics, but he finished fourth in the 100 breast before fading to fifth in the 200 IM, despite leading the 50 m by . The final 50 meters of the 200 IM have been a struggle for Andrew throughout his career, but he will have plenty of opportunities to make his mark for the United States in 2022. He will likely swim all four 50-meter events at the trials, and in 2019, he became the first swimmer to qualify for finals in all four 50s. He was fourth in the 50 free at the Olympics, missing out on a medal by only three hundredths, and he ended his Games on a strong note, swimming the breaststroke leg of the world record-setting 400 medley relay. We'll see a lot of Andrew at Trials, and he'll likely be throwing himself into the mix of various events at Worlds.

7. Nick Fink

2021 was a huge year for Nick Fink. After finishing third in the 100 breast final at the Olympic Trials, he qualified for his first Olympic team by winning the 200 breaststroke, and after finishing sixth in the Tokyo final, he had a remarkable short course season on the ISL circuit. He won all three breaststroke events at the ISL finals, upsetting Ilya Shimanovich on each occasion, and he then captured two individual gold medals (200 breast and 50 breast) at the Short Course World Championships. Fink swam those remarkable performances in the fall when he was starting a graduate program at Georgia Tech for electrical and computer engineering, and the 28-year-old recently told Swimming World that he's not sure how long swimming is his priority. There will be life. But for 2022, he remains the best American hope in the 200 breast, and he also has a solid chance to make the world championships in the 100 meters.

8. Jay Litherland

Jay Litherland is the last person on this list to have won an individual Olympic medal. The 400 IM is the only event in which Litherland is internationally competitive, but he's really good at it. The 26-year-old was the silver medalist in the event at the 2019 World Championships, and then matched that feat at the Tokyo Olympics as he finished second behind teammate Chase Kalisz. Litherland has solid skills in all four strokes, but her last 100 meters are absolutely typical. He earned his two Olympic berths by making a stunning comeback on the freestyle leg, passing Ryan Lochte in the Olympic Trials final in 2016 and then downing Carson Foster five years later. In Tokyo, Litherland was sixth in the 100 m and held down everyone except Kalisz to take the silver medal.

9. Shine Case

After winning three national titles at the 2021 NCAA Championships, Shayne Cass looks to be in position to qualify for her first Olympic team. He fell just short of that feat at the Olympic Trials, but produced a stellar performance in his international debut for the United States at the Short Course World Championships in December. Casas won the short course world title in the 100 backstroke, edging out Olympic bronze medalist Klement Kolesnikov, and he also won silver in the 200 back and four relay medals. So far this year, Kass has posted the fastest times in the 100 butterfly (51.09) and 200 IM (1:56.70), as well as the fastest times in the 100 back (53.28) and 200 back (1) in the United States. : 58.09). Now training at the University of Texas, Cass will likely be a contender to qualify for the world championships in each of those events, along with the 100 freestyle, as a relay swimmer.

10. Zach Apples

In his first Olympic final, Zach Apple was thrust into a high-pressure position as the anchor leg of the American men's 400 freestyle relay, and he split 46.69 to secure the American gold. However, two days later, Apple missed the individual final of the 100 free before swimming a disappointing split on the 800 free relay that cost the American men a medal. However, he won another relay, the U.S. The men's 400 medley would bounce back to set a gold and a new world record. Apple hasn't posted any standout swims since Tokyo, but she has built up a consistent track record of success in the 100 and 200 free over the past five years. He consistently qualifies for the biggest meeting of the year and then performs, so it's fair to expect Apple to be in that mix again in 2022.

11. Carson Foster

Will this be the season that Carson Foster finally puts it together? After his freshman season at the University of Texas, Foster was the top qualifier for the 400 IM final at the Olympic Trials, but he finished third behind Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, who finished 1–2. Olympics. He also missed the Olympic team in the 800 freestyle relay. A month later, Foster swam the fastest time in the world in the 400 IM, faster than her winning time at the Olympics, at a sectional meet in Austin. Foster made his senior debut for Team USA at the Short Course World Championships, where he won a silver medal in the 200 IM and a bronze medal in the 400 IM, and he appeared to be heading towards a big performance at the NCAA Championships. He posted some quick times in Atlanta, including a stunning 3:33.79 in the 400-yard IM, but he was slow in the finals in all three of his events. Finding his best in key moments has been challenging for Foster so far, although he is only 20 years old, with plenty of time to change that narrative. At the Trials, he'll again be a favorite to qualify for Worlds in the 400 IM and relay duty in the 200 free, and if he performs to the best of his ability, certainly a World Championship medal prospect.

12. Luca Orlando

The latest American-record holder is 20-year-old Luca Urlando. Long known for his impressive prowess in butterfly events, Urlando used a sensational underwater to bring down Ryan Murphy's national mark in the 100-yard backstroke at the NCAA Championships last month. He finished third in the 200 IM and second in both butterfly races at the college level. In the long run, Urlando will have a very real chance to qualify for the world championships in the 100 and 200 butterfly, both races in which she placed third at the Olympic Trials last year, as well as for relay duty in the 200 freestyle. also. Urlando has been as fast as 1:53.84 in the 200 fly (in 2019), a performance that made him the third fastest American of all time. He hasn't approached that form in three years, but getting close will help him be in the conversation for an individual medal at Worlds.

13. Coleman Stewart

Based on his career history, Coleman Stewart will have a tough time qualifying for the World Championships. He earned two finals at last year's Olympic Trials, finishing fourth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 100 freestyle, while finishing 10th in the 100 backstroke, considered his best. Two months later, Stewart became a world-record holder as he swam 48.33 in the 100 back during the second meeting of the ISL season. Stewart has been a remarkable short course backstroker going back to his days as a standout at North Carolina State, but he hasn't been able to translate that into long-term success. Still, a world record earned him a nod here, and if he can find a spot to find success in the 50-meter pool, Stewart is likely to move up the rankings.

14. Drew Kibler

University of Texas standout Drew Kibler made the jump to the long course last year when he qualified for his first Olympic team as a third-place finisher in the 200 freestyle at the Trials. He ended up swimming the second leg of the US men's 800 freestyle relay in Tokyo, and he recorded a split of 1:45.51 that put the United States ahead, although the team finished without a medal. He returned to Texas for his senior season and won his first individual NCAA title in the 200-yard freestyle, where Keibler swam a time of 1:30.28 to beat a packed field. Kibler returned to the long course a week later at the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, posting solid times in the 200 free (1:47.61) and 100 free (49.30), setting herself up for Greensboro.

15. Brooks Curry

LSU's Brooks Curry was a surprise qualifier for the 2021 Olympic team after finishing fourth in the 100 freestyle at the Olympic Trials, and earned a gold medal as a prelims relay swimmer in Tokyo. He followed that success with a stellar college season that included NCAA titles in the 50-yard free and 100 free, and if he can navigate the upcoming Trials, he'll have a chance at the U.S. Open in 2022. Will be prepared to expand his presence in the team. Curry is 21 years old, based in the US. is much smaller than the other contenders in the sprint events for the U.S., and the Americans will certainly need some increased depth in the sprint events to maintain their recent stranglehold on the 400 free relay, especially with veteran Nathan Adrian. No. Competing since the Olympic Trials and Blake Pieroni missing this year with injuries.

considered others

There will certainly be a chance for some new faces to make an impact on the US men's team this year, with several veterans of the Tokyo team absent from this year's trials. Townley Haas and Andrew Selisker have both retired, while Olympic finalist breaststroker Andrew Wilson has not competed since Tokyo. Veteran sprinter Ryan Held and breaststroker Will Lichon will be among those looking to qualify for the Worlds team after missing the cut for the Olympics last year. NCAA champions Destin Lasko (backstroke) and Max McHugh (breaststroke) are also worth watching, but neither have shown long course skills that match their accomplishments in the 25-yard pool.


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