Who You Got? A 2017 U.S. Nationals Pick ‘Em Breakdown


We’re one session in, but the break between prelims and finals is the perfect time to do an early look at some highlights from our 2017 U.S. Nationals Pick ‘Em contest.

First, the “shoe-ins”.  Overall, we have nine events with at least 95% of our readers picking the same athlete to win.  Unsurprisingly, Katie Ledecky earned the highest percentage of 1st place picks in the entire meet, with every single contestant picking her to win the women’s 800 freestyle.  More than 99% of voters also picked Ledecky to win the 400 and 200 freestyles (though, interestingly, just 87.5% picked her to win the 1500, which may have been due to how the psych sheets were formatted).

Event Athlete % of 1st place picks
Women’s 800 Free Katie Ledecky 100.0%
Women’s 400 Free Katie Ledecky 99.8%
Women’s 200 Free Katie Ledecky 99.1%
Women’s 100 Fly Kelsi Worrell 99.1%
Men’s 400 IM Chase Kalisz 98.0%
Women’s 50 Fly Kelsi Worrell 98.0%
Men’s 100 Back Ryan Murphy 96.8%
Women’s 100 Free Simone Manuel 96.6%
Men’s 200 Back Ryan Murphy 95.5%

The event perhaps most under fire after this morning’s session?  The women’s 100 freestyle, where, although Simone Manuel is still the favorite tonight, Mallory Comerford is riding a wave of momentum coming off an excellent NCAA’s, as shown by her 53.26 swim this morning to earn herself the top seed.

On the other end of the spectrum, our most divisive events were the following:

Event Athlete % of 1st place picks
Men’s 200 Fly Chase Kalisz 42.0%
Men’s 50 Breast Kevin Cordes 43.1%
Women’s 400 IM Elizabeth Beisel 43.4%
Women’s 200 Back Amy Bilquist 43.7%
Men’s 50 Free Caeleb Dressel 44.2%
Men’s 100 Breast Cody Miller 46.7%
Men’s 800 Free Clark Smith 46.7%

Five of these are near-dead heats between two competitors:

  • Men’s 200 fly: Chase Kalisz (187 first-place picks) and Jack Conger (181)
  • Men’s 50 breast: Kevin Cordes (190 first-place picks) and Cody Miller (177)
  • Men’s 100 breast: Cody Miller (206) and Kevin Cordes (205)
  • Men’s 50 free: Caeleb Dressel (196) and Nathan Adrian (194)

Some other notes after the first session:

  • Just two readers picked Zach Apple to finish anywhere inside the top six in the men’s 100 freestyle, and they picked him to finish… sixth.  Even if Apple doesn’t hold off Nathan Adrian, Caeleb Dressel, and/or Ryan Held tonight, the Auburn sprinter has drastically surpassed expectations
  • 60% of readers had Cassidy Bayer finishing in the top two in the women’s 200 butterfly.  Bayer finished outside of the top eight this morning
  • More than 80% of readers had Tom Shields finishing in the top three in the men’s 200 butterfly.  Like Bayer, Shields fell outside the top eight.
  • 90% of readers picked Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel to finish 1-2 or vice versa in the men’s 100 free
  • Around 45% of voters picked Conor Dwyer to finish in the top two in the men’s 200 freestyle.  Though he is more known for his mid-distance chops, Dwyer finished an unexpected 16th in the 100 freestyle this morning

In event order, here the athletes who received the highest percentage of 1st place picks:

Event Athlete % of 1st place picks
Women’s 200 Fly Hali Flickinger 84.6%
Men’s 200 Fly Chase Kalisz 42.0%
Women’s 100 Free Simone Manuel** 96.6%
Men’s 100 Free Nathan Adrian 64.9%
Women’s 800 Free Katie Ledecky** 100.0%
Men’s 1500 Free True Sweetser 56.9%
Women’s 200 Free Katie Ledecky** 99.1%
Men’s 200 Free Townley Haas 77.7%
Women’s 200 Breast Katie Meili 67.2%
Men’s 200 Breast Josh Prenot 77.6%
Women’s 200 Back Amy Bilquist 43.7%
Men’s 200 Back Ryan Murphy** 95.5%
Women’s 50 Fly Kelsi Worrell** 98.0%
Men’s 50 Fly Tom Shields 51.8%
Women’s 400 IM Elizabeth Beisel 43.4%
Men’s 400 IM Chase Kalisz** 98.0%
Women’s 100 Fly Kelsi Worrell** 99.1%
Men’s 100 Fly Tom Shields 62.7%
Women’s 50 Breast Lilly King 90.0%
Men’s 50 Breast Kevin Cordes 43.1%
Women’s 50 Back Kathleen Baker 57.6%
Men’s 50 Back Ryan Murphy 71.3%
Women’s 400 Free Katie Ledecky** 99.8%
Men’s 400 Free Townley Haas 55.0%
Women’s 100 Breast Lilly King 88.0%
Men’s 100 Breast Cody Miller 46.7%
Women’s 100 Back Kathleen Baker 78.0%
Men’s 100 Back Ryan Murphy** 96.8%
Women’s 1500 Free Katie Ledecky 87.5%
Women’s 200 IM Melanie Margalis 75.8%
Men’s 200 IM Chase Kalisz 93.4%
Men’s 800 Free Clark Smith 46.7%
Women’s 50 Free Simone Manuel 91.8%
Men’s 50 Free Caeleb Dressel 44.2%



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4 years ago

It was very hard to pick the 1500 because of how scrambled it was I didn’t see Ledecky at first and almost skipped over her

4 years ago

What are the characteristics of a winner “pickers”?

You get the obvious ones (the shoo-ins), and then pick the winners of the “toss-ups” (like the women’s 200 back) to separate yourself from the pack?

Reply to  marklewis
4 years ago

It actually winds up being quite similar to the NCAA tournament for basketball. A few people near the top who just made solid picks throughout, and then friends/family/teammates/big fans of a couple of swimmers who had breakout meets and were surprises to make the top 4 in multiple events…except to their friends.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 years ago

Now that one session is over, where are the Leaderboards posted?

About Morgan Priestley

Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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