One of the things that tends to get lost when we focus solely on medal count at international meets is the changing landscape of the various national programs’ depth.
Many of the perennial leaders are losing ground this year, while previously-struggling programs are enjoying turnarounds. As an example, in 2013 Team USA had 58 finalists in all swimming events throughout the World Championship meet; Great Britain had 17. Through four days and 18 events in 2015, those numbers are 18 and 14, respectively. Granted, in 2013 British Swimming were were trying to fight the fallout of a poor Olympic performance and their numbers were particularly low, but the depth we’ve seen so far from the British squad is impressive – after three days, they matched the American exactly with 11 finalists, further emphasizing the slow start of the Americans. On the other end of the scale are teams like Germany and France, who have placed double-digit numbers of swimmers in World Championship finals over the last decade but who are struggling this year. France, in particular, has been shut out of several finals with swimmers stranded in the ninth position after semi-finals.
Take a look below at the total number of finalists per country from the following countries, at the end of competition on Day Four: