2024 U.S. Olympic Trials: Examining The Trends From The Pick’Em Contest

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 1

June 14th, 2024 National, News


There’s still one day left to participate in SwimSwam’s 2024 U.S. Olympic trials Pick’em contest, but we’ve already received 610 responses and counting. In this article, we take a look at some of the notable trends coming from the picks.

The biggest favorite in the Pick’ems was surprisingly not Katie Ledecky in the distance freestyle events, but Bobby Finke in the men’s 800 freestyle. He received 604 of 606 first-place votes in the event, or 99.7% of the total vote. Other lopsided event winner picks included Ledecky in the 400 (98.9%), 800 (99.5%) and 1500 free (99.3%) Finke in the 1500 free (99.3%), Regan Smith in the women’s 200 fly (98.3%) and 200 back (97.9%) and Katie Grimes in the women’s 400 IM (97.9%).

The lowest seed to be favored in an event is Caeleb Dressel, who is seeded fifth in the men’s 50 free but was picked by 60.9% of responders to win the event. He was also picked by 75.5% to win the 100 fly as a third seed, but was *not* the favorite in the 100 free — that title belongs to top-seeded Jack Alexy, whom 58.7% picked to win the event. However, Dressel did get 24% of the first-place votes there, the second-most out of any swimmer. He was also the favorite to grab the second individual spot.

The two other events where the top seed wasn’t the favorite to win were the men’s 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 free. In the 200 fly, second-seeded Carson Foster got the majority of the votes over Thomas Heilman, who has a faster best time than Foster and finished in a higher place than him at the 2023 World Championships. Foster was also picked by 75.9% of voters to get first in the 200 IM over Shaine Casas. In the 400 free, second seed and reigning Olympic bronze medalist Kieran Smith got more first-place votes than top seed David Johnston.

Even though Lilly King has been America’s top breaststroker since 2016 (with the exception of 2021, when Lydia Jacoby won Olympic gold), voters don’t seem to be super confident in her winning the 100 breast. She only got 62.3% of all first-place votes in the 100 breast, the second-lowest percentage out of all favorites in women’s events. The lowest percentage of first-place voters for a favorite in a women’s event came in the 50 free, where 54.2% of people picked Kate Douglass to win. However, it’s fair to assume that result stems partially from skepticism over her actually swimming the race.

Some of the most wide-open Olympic spots include the second individual spots in the women’s 100 back, women’s 200 fly and men’s 800 free. The vote is split almost dead even between Katharine Berkoff and Claire Curzan for the second in the 100 back, with Berkoff slightly edging out Curzan in votes. Meanwhile, it is Alex Shackell who got most of the second place votes (45.9%) in the 200 fly. Many voters have confidence in Johnson to make Paris in the 800 free, as he got 60.6% 0f all-second place votes.

The 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming trials will run from June 15 to 24 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Following along here at SwimSwam for all coverage related to the meet.

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1 month ago

I’m curious about who is predicted to win & get 2nd in the women’s 100 free.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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