After Summer 2023 Breakout, Jonny Kulow Keeps Rolling With 47.44 Relay Split at Pan Ams

2023 PAN AMERICAN GAMES

American swimmer Jonny Kulow threw down a 47.44 split on the American mixed 400 free relay on Sunday in Santiago, Chile, helping the team win a silver medal.

The US Relay:

  • Brooks Curry – 48.43
  • Jonny Kulow – 47.44
  • Catie DeLoof – 54.01
  • Amy Fulmer – 54.33

The split was faster than two of the three rolling start legs that Team USA had on the men’s 400 free relay at this summer’s World Championships that took bronze, bettering Jack Alexy’s 47.56 and Chris Giuliano’s 47.77. The difference between his split and that of Giuliano’s would have been enough to bump the Americans ahead of Italy for silver in a hypothetical race.

That swim is much better than Kulow’s 48.45 leading off the men’s 400 free relay on Saturday, which led to a silver medal behind Brazil.

Kulow, a sophomore at Arizona State, came from nowhere to make the US National Team after his first season with the Sun Devils. Prior to 2023, his best time in the 100 free in long course was a 50.39 at the 2021 US Olympic Trials. Across several meets, he lowered that to 48.47 at the US Trials last year, and so far at the Pan American Games has lowered both his best flat-start time and his best rolling start time.

In totality, Kulow’s drops, and more importantly where they’ve come, set him up as a big meet swimmer that the US really needs headed toward Paris after a year where they had good but not great, breakthrough performances on the world stage. He’s peaked at Trials meets and now at his first big international meet.

He’s had a good start to his college season too. Against Georgia, he swam a flat-start 42.73 in the 100-yard free and split 41.37 on a relay, for example.

Kulow’s swim provided a reminder that the strength of the US team is its depth, and that’s why these secondary championship meets are so important. While USA Swimming doesn’t prioritize the Pan American Games for its top swimmers (unlike countries like Canada and Brazil, which send most of their best athletes), providing international experience and breakthrough opportunities for swimmers like Kulow ahead of the Olympic year.

The US has a lot of new faces in the men’s sprint ranks, and their fortunes at the Olympics are still heavily dependent upon whether-or-not Caeleb Dressel can return in some former form of himself. If he isn’t the 47.0 guy he was before his break, the Americans need to stockpile as many of these 47-low splits as they can to try and claw their way to gold in a more balanced fashion next year.

 

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Wyo Mel
5 months ago

Go Jonny GOOO!!!

chazoozle
5 months ago

Who will be on the 4 x 100? Alexy, Dressel (if that 200 free gives a glimpse of his progression)

Other potentials – Kaii Winkler, Maximum Williamson, Brooks Curry, Chris Guiliano, Matt King, Destin Lasco,

Even More others – Ryan Held, Justin Ress, Macguire McDuff, Drew Kibler, Henry McFadden

I am sure there are a handful of others as well…

Grant Drukker
Reply to  chazoozle
5 months ago

Dressel, Kulow, Open Spot, Alexy

Wild guess, I would go with Guiliano, King and Lasco right now for the 4th spot.

ncaa fan
Reply to  Grant Drukker
5 months ago

That could be the 6 to make the team and fastest prelims split will determine who gets to stand on the podium

‘Murica
Reply to  chazoozle
5 months ago

Literally a crapshoot for the 3rd and 4th spots assuming Dressel is in form

Swim2win
Reply to  chazoozle
5 months ago

Maximus Williamson and Ryan Held are my predictions for the final 4 on relay next year

Joe
Reply to  Swim2win
5 months ago

I hope not Ryan Held after the way he led off the relay at Worlds. You would think a veteran would swim a race so undisciplined

Swimz
Reply to  chazoozle
5 months ago

A Final USA would be..
Alexy, King, Guliani, Lasco, Armstrong, Williamson, Kulow, Macduff, Curry, Dressel, Held, Ress…
Ohhh..I cant guess..there are so many..

Alex Wilson
5 months ago

Jonny Kulow is definitely a sprinter to watch this season! When one considers that he only turned 19 this summer, he is likely to get faster as he gains strength and improves his technique.

Marina Del Rey Robert
5 months ago

I just wasn’t ready for all this JACT man meat with my cinnamon toast crunch. I’ll manage. Munch Munch Munch…

Pescatarian
5 months ago

The US will win the 400 free relay in Paris. Depth matters.

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  Pescatarian
5 months ago

True. Depth usually matters.

However, it’s not always the case.

In 2004 Athens, the US had most depth in m400 free relay (they replaced 3 of the prelims swimmers with 3 fresh ones including Michael Phelps) while South Africa had the least depth (In the final they swam the same 4 prelims swimmers because they literally had no backup swimmer). The Netherlands also had less depth than the US (in the final they used 3 swimmers from prelims).

Guess what happened.

Dylan
Reply to  Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

The problem was that Eddie Reese put Ian crocker in the relay even though he was really sick and went 50.0….

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Dylan
5 months ago

True but RSA beat USA by 1.5 seconds. I’m not sure USA left someone off the relay that had a 48.5 flat start in them. I get that being that far behind from the beginning screwed the other 3 guys, but still, we weren’t winning that relay.

Frank A Wilson
Reply to  Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

You are correct there are more factors than depth. Coach Ron Johnson, then the retired ASU swim coach and my Masters coach at the time forecast that South Africa,three of their swimmers swam and trained at U of Arizona was likely to win. He was on the deck at the Olympics. NBC sports came to him after the upset and said You should have warned us”! He replied; I tried but you would not listen!

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  Frank A Wilson
5 months ago

NBC trusted Rowdy Gaines more than everyone else on earth….

oxyswim
Reply to  Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

Australia won worlds this year because Kyle dropped a 46 mid split, not because of their depth. USA had the deepest stable of 100 freestylers this year, like they do almost every year. The difference was that Held wasn’t on 46 form and we didn’t have Dressel leading off in 47 low. First day of the meet, depth matters even less.

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  oxyswim
5 months ago

Yeah, on paper USA should have won Fukuoka after GBR was DQ.

Depth is not the only thing that matters.

Swimz
Reply to  oxyswim
5 months ago

Yes. USA had the depth ..but used the wrong line up. Held was 5th in the trails. He should have race for a spot in the heats. Anyway for the final USA should have use Alexy, Held, Guliano and King in that order. That doesnt matter Dressel in or out 2023. The sprinters were so good. Dressel lead off 47.6 in 2022 Budapest. I guess Alexy was fast enough put a same split. I hope Guliano did a great job. Because held touched the wall in 4th. Alexy then touched as 6th. Guliano almost touched as 1st (47.7,fastest third leg in the field) King was decent with 47.3 but had not enough against charging charmars and ceccon. All 3 teams… Read more »

Underachieving swimmer
5 months ago

Absolute beefcake, what a split!

Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

Bowman the Goat coach

Miself
Reply to  Lisa Simpson
5 months ago

I think behm has been working with him a lot more than bowman but yes

NWAG boys
5 months ago

Got that dawg in him

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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