Men’s 1500m Freestyle World Championship Preview: Can Connor Jaeger Become Team USA’s Dominant Distance Freestyler?


  • Day 8, Sunday, August 9th
  • 2013 World Champion: Sun Yang, CHN – 14:41.15 (SEE RACE VIDEO ABOVE)
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Ryan Cochrane, CAN – 14:42.48
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA – 14:45.37

The men’s 1500 free has consistently seen some very fast performances at the top (excluding 2007), with Grant Hackett in 2005, Oussama Mellouli in 2009, and Sun Yang ever since. After Mellouli had the second fastest performance in history in 2009, Sun Yang followed up breaking Grant Hackett’s 10 year old world record that was expected to stand for much longer. After the 14:34.14 in 2011 and a 14:31.02 in 2012, Sun reverted back up to a 14:41 performance in 2013. A 14:44-45 swim has proven to be enough for medal at recent championships. In 2013 Sun Yang got away with not doing the necessary training for the distance events and still earning gold medals, but if he shows up in Kazan not in top shape, this year might be different. With some young distance stars beginning to emerge, I expect this event will get faster as a whole.

James Sutherland - Men's 1500m freestyle world championship preview

Ever since his world record breaking performance at the 2011 championships, Sun Yang has not lost this race at a major international competition. With the recent performances we’ve seen from Gregorio Paltrinieri and Connor Jaeger this year, that streak may come to an end.

Take a look at the top times from around the world this season:

2014-2015 LCM Men 1500 Free

View Top 26»

Paltrinieri was a 14:39 last year and has already been 14:43 this year. He also won the short course world championship in a very fast time of 14:16. Sun on the other hand was a 14:49 last year and only a 15:00 this year. Of course, Sun is a big meet swimmer, and will bring his best in Kazan, but Paltrinieri has burst onto the scene recently and based on his trajectory a personal best this summer should be expected. I think he will pull away from Sun in the final 500 and take the title.

Connor Jaeger has been finding his rhythm over the last few years, and is setting up what could be his best major championship meet of his career thus far. He burst onto the world stage in 2012 when he qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, and since then, he’s taken off. In the last year alone, he broke the American record in the 1650y freestyle, and has posted some impressive in-season times this summer in the distance freestyle events. Although he is getting better every year at the shorter races, I think the 1500 will be his best this summer. The United States has lacked a dominant distance freestyler in recent years, but Jaeger may be their answer.

Ryan Cochrane has been a consistent medalist in this event since the 2008 Beijing games where he won bronze, and should be there fighting it out at the front with Sun, Paltrinieri, Jaeger, and Horton. Ultimately I think Cochrane’s experience will push him past Horton for the bronze medal, in a tight battle.

Mack Horton put on a dominant display at Australian nationals earlier this year clocking in at 14:44, and should be able to recreate a similar performance in Kazan.

Michael McBroom has been solid the last few years, and has looked strong this season. He topped Jaeger head-to-head last night in the 800m freestyle in Santa Clara, and knows how to step up and race when the pressure is on.

Gabrielle Detti posted quick times last year and has backed them up so far this year, giving the Italians a strong 1-2 punch in distance freestyle. Stephen Milne also posted a fast 14:53 last year, and has already cracked the 15 minute barrier this year, setting him up for a berth in the final.

For a dark horse pick, Mykhailo Romanchuk of Ukraine is beginning to make a name for himself. After a 23rd ranked 15:07 last year, he has turned in the 5th fastest time in the world this year going 14:58. Romanchuk has already proved he can come through on an international stage, albeit a smaller one, as he won gold at the 2014 youth Olympic games in the 400 freestyle and also picked up a silver in the 800. If he can take off some time from his 14:58 this year, he certainly could be in the mix to qualify for the final. Others to watch for in this event include Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands, Jordan Harrison of Australia, Gergely Gyurta Hungary and Japan’s Ayatsugu Hirai and Kohei Yamomoto.


  1. Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA                        14:36.47
  2. Connor Jaeger, USA                                14:38.96
  3. Ryan Cochrane, CAN                               14:41.91
  4. Sun Yang, CHN                                         14:42.34
  5. Mack Horton, AUS                                   14:42.72
  6. Michael McBroom, USA                          14:48.88
  7. Gabrielle Detti, ITA                                  14:51.97
  8. Stephen Milne, GBR                                 14:53.00

Darkhorse: Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR    14:55.46


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

  • M 400 Free
  • M 400 Free
  • W 4×100 Free Relay
  • M 4×100 Free Relay

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

  • M 100 Breast
  • W 100 Fly
  • M 50 Fly
  • W 200 IM

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

  • M 200 Free
  • W 100 Back
  • W 1500 Free
  • M 100 Back
  • W 100 Breast

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

  • M 200 IM
  • M 100 Free
  • W 200 Fly
  • W 50 Back
  • W 4×200 Free Relay

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

  • W 50 Fly
  • M 50 Free
  • W 200 Back
  • M 100 Fly
  • W 800 Free
  • MIXED 4×100 Free Relay

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

  • M 50 Back
  • W 50 Breast
  • M 400 IM
  • W 50 Free
  • M 1500 Free
  • W 400 IM
  • M 4×100 Medley Relay
  • W 4×100 Medley Relay

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Don’t worry, Gregorio, I can’t beat Sarah Sjostrom either, even if I am 13.?

8 years ago

I think this final has the potential for the whole final (maybe unlikely for 7th and 8th) to go sub 14:50 and a big prospect of sub 14:40. Depending on where Horton is positioned I would have him picked for a medal and if within a body length of the lead with 150 to go I’d likely have him at Gold. Only young is, for an Australian distance swimmer I believe a massive cop out judging by how young Thorpe, Hackett and Perkins were when they rose to distance greatness.

Lane Four
8 years ago

He reminds me A LOT of Brian Goodell. Not a very big guy but tough as nails. Nobody ever expected Goodell to drop his times the way he did but he did it. Connor has that something “special” you just can’t put your finger on. I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if he wins either in Kazan or Rio. He definitely has the eye of the tiger in his heart.

Aussie Coach
8 years ago

Mack Horton to finish in the podium. He is a bit of an unknown on the world stage, but down here he is considered the next big thing in for distance swimming in Australia.

8 years ago

Jaeger’s personal best is 14:47.96, as I reckon. And he’s months older than Sun. 14:38? I doubt it.

8 years ago

I’m going for Mack Horton and Paltinieri, gold and silver. A de-juiced sun-yang for the bronze. Horton is a huge talent, and whilst Kazan is a little early for him, Rio will see him in his prime.

Swimmer A
8 years ago

Haha I love it! On the 800 prediction I complained you guys did Jaeger dirty with the 4 and 8 times and placing. Jaeger’s lookin great this season. These guys are fast, but I have faith he’ll be up there.

Swim fan II
8 years ago

It seems unlikely that Connor will go under the 14:40 mark, but he is differently going to set the America record this summer. As for McBroom, don’t count him out of fighting for a podium spot; remember no one gave him a shot at medaling in Barcelona, and not only did he medal is set the American record in the 800M.

I think he can be top 5 again in the 1500 as in Spain and has a chance to be in the hunt for a 14:45/ 46 if he’ tapered in Kazan. I think the Texas men are focusing on and targeting Omaha in June 2016. Jaeger is tops in US distance now but Michael McBroom is in the… Read more »

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »