The following is a lightly edited transcript of a Slack chat that took place over the last three weeks. This is part 1 of 2. The last 4 rounds will be published in part 2 People’s opinions expressed below are their own. I’m certain some of you will disagree with some of them. Feel free to comment why our picks were so unwise or why my team is the best.
This is a draft of non-American athletes.
andrew Welcome to the SwimSwam 2020 Non American Olympians draft. The goal is to determine where people’s expectations are at the mid point of the Olympic cycle. Which swimmers do we expect to dominate in Tokyo? How do we value up and coming swimmer’s chances? Do we expect aging stars to win more medals or fall off?
Participating this time are myself (Andrew Mering), Braden Keith, Jared Anderson, Lauren Neidigh, Loretta Race, Reid Carlson, Spencer Penland, Karl Ortegon, and Morgan Priestley. There will be 8 rounds for a total of 72 swimmers drafted.
Individual medals: Gold 8, Silver 6, Bronze, 4
Relay medals: Gold: 3, Silver: 2, Bronze: 1
Individual event, make the final: 1
Non US athletes only. (US draft can be found here)
The draft will be a snake draft (the order will be reversed every round).
By random draw the order of the first round will be:
One stat I thought I’d mention before we begin. Between the 2009 and 2013 world championships there were 158 individual medals awarded in Olympic events (79 to men, 79 to women). At the Olympics 3 years after those world championships nearly half of those medalists weren’t in the final in their event (71 total, 41 men, 30 women). 44 medaled again (25 men, 19 women), and 43 made the final and didn’t medal (13 men, 30 women).
Braden Keith This first pick is not nearly as easy as I expected it to be. But I think, even without an obvious route to relay medals, I’ve gotta take Sjöström. Best chance at the most medals.
andrew It’s not impossible for Sweden to medal in the 4X100. They’re only one leg away from being a solid contender.
karl 🙁 i wanted her but knew i wouldn’t get her
spencer I was going to pick her! 🙁
Jared I’m picking 7th this time, so you guys are gonna have to work a lot harder to give me the best guy again
Braden Keith Reid chooses Regan Smith. Because Minnesota is basically Canada anyway.
karl Shh don’t mention Canada. I want my 5th pick steal
Retta Karl – same…..top of my list
But…..I’ve got a stockpile of sleeper picks to throw at y’all
karl Just realized this is for 2020 and am scrambling to re-order/change my list wow
Retta When did you think it was for?
karl 2018 but then realized there are a bunch of different meets and that that wouldn’t make sense lol
Reid Canada, eh? Taylor Ruck then.
Fear the tree.
Retta This early??
Reid Commonwealth Games were solid. Canadian relays are super strong.
Retta I understand…..but, this early? Wow
Robert Gibbs I’ve heard of crazier things. It’s not like Reid drafted, say, Regan Smith ahead of Caeleb Dressel or anything like that.
Braden Keith But here’s the thing: the potential of multiple medals, once you get past the Americans, is not that deep.
Retta I respectfully disagree
spencer I’ll take Rikako Ikee
Retta And Retta curls into a ball and cries
spencer That was actually a pretty intense decision
Retta I 100% admit I’m jealous…her trajectory is on line to explode in at least 2 events come Tokyo…plus, JPN 4×2 looks more and more like a viable minor medal player
spencer She’s going to come through for me I know it
karl Ruck and Ikee are gooooood bets
Reid Were those your top 2, Karl?
karl For me it was Sjo-Ikee-Ruck
But didn’t even write down Sarah’s name in my list cuz I knew it’d get taken
andrew I thought Ikee was a bottom of the first round/top of the second round value, but I was hoping to be able to grab Ruck at pick 4. Those Canadian relays look dirty.
Since everyone’s going youth, I’ll go the other way. Give me Katinka Hosszu. One of the models I made for this actually projects her individual medal points ahead of Dressel.
karl Gimme Peaty
andrew Kind of a one trick pony. It’s a really good trick, but the points upside is limited
karl Mixed relays please come thru. They’re gonna have those in Tokyo right…
Retta Dang on Hosszu! Another one off my list
andrew She was #2 on my board
spencer I only skipped on Hosszu because I don’t feel as confident about where she’d be in two years as I do with Ikee
andrew Hosszu is so far ahead of the field in the IM’s. Even if she slips a little she should easily be in the medals.
Ikee has to get past Sjostrom in everything and some significant other traffic in the sprint frees. Manuel, Comerford, the Campbells, Ruck, Oleksiak, Blume, Kromowidjojo. The more optimistic of my models ranked Ikee the 20th best pick (and the model accounted for age). I think 20th is too low, but I think 3 is too high. However, maybe it’s worth it for the possibility of an absolute jackpot and maybe I’m undervaluing the home field advantage.
spencer I guess the way I’m looking at it is I don’t see Hosszu winning, or even medaling in the 100 back again. She could possibly, or may even be likely to take gold in both IM’s, but I think Japan has at least some shot of getting relay medals. Their women’s free relays are pretty good and getting better, and at least their mixed free relay is decent. I think Hosszu is the safer choice for medals, but I personally feel the the potential upside to Rikako Ikee is enough to make me pick her.
Jared Just getting back from watching dinosaurs eat people, want to throw back to pick 2: in Reid’s defense, I also had Ruck #2 on my board. She’s not the favorite in anything, but a medal contender in a bunch and rising fast. And Canada could bring home several relay medals, too.
spencer I completely agree. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to take her after Sjöström was taken.
andrew I agree that Hosszu is probably done with the 100 back, but that’s not her next best event after the IMs. These days she’s better off in the 200 back and 200 fly. The field in the 200 fly is pretty old -the top 4 times from the last 18 months all belong to swimmers 27 or older- so she’s not being pushed out by the next generation there yet. Maybe that’s too much volume for a 31 year old, but Hosszu has a lot of experience with big schedules.
I may look like a fool in two years for questioning Ikee, but until she actually wins a major senior level long course medal, she’s a risk.
Jared Here’s what I’ll say about Ikee: obviously, great swimmer, versatile, rising fast. But i think she gets overrated by being a killer in-season swimmer. She’ll be scary fast all year but I don’t think she’ll drop much at taper time. She may look like a threat to upset Sjostrom/Campbells, but I’m not buying that she will unless she’s faster than their lifetime-bests during the season. What we see in season is what we’ll get at Worlds/Olympics with Ikee
karl Maybe so but I do like the improvement we’ve seen from her this year, esp in the 50/100 fly and 200 free. Feel like in 2 years even if she’s still an in season star she’ll be doing so at an even higher level
Retta RE Ikee – don’t forget she’ll have the home turf advantage in 2020….that can be a big factor that is influencing my draft picks at least.
Jared True. I could be wrong. It’s happened once or twice before
Lauren I’m having flashbacks to last draft when I had to watch everyone take my top choices and start to lose hope haha
Morgan P I’ll take Cate Campbell. She (1) may not even be the “right” Campbell, and (2) may end up without multiple individual medals, but like her total points potential with all the relay options, especially given we’re allowing relay medals
Lauren Aaaaand Morgan took my next idea hahaha
Morgan P That, and I think Australia is actually giving their Olympic development plan a long, hard look, so maybe we don’t have to watch the Australian team turn into a pumpkin again.
Sorry Lauren haha
Retta C1 is still moderately risky given her performance issues, although she seems to be sticking to the ‘Im back in love with swimming’ story.
Shes not the top Aussie on my list, anyway.
Jared I had 7 swimmers graded elite… and 4 are still left. Tough choice…
I’m gonna go with Gabriele Detti. Adding the 800 is great for him. Potential triple medalist
Lauren Aaaaand there goes my next choice haha
Retta Just rattle off a random pick now 🙂
Braden Keith How is everyone feeling about Schooling after his swims this week?
spencer I thought his 100 fly was pretty good, but wasn’t impressed by his 100 free. My problem with picking him for this is that he’s saying he’s done with the 200 fly, so in my opinion the 100 fly is the only event where he can medal. Right now, I would say Dressel is the heavy favorite in the 100 fly, and Singapore won’t medal in any relays, so Schooling’s scoring potential for this is limited to a handful of points.
andrew There are at least 4 or 5 men’s butterflyers in this draft I’d pick ahead of him.
Retta Schooling hasn’t seriously trained since 2016….time is running out for Tokyo, but if he can buckle down, he will be a 1fly threat.
His Asian Games performances will be a little more revealing.
Lauren I’m gonna go with James Guy
Jared Great pick. I was thinking hard about him instead of Detti
Retta What do you see as his medal chances?
1fly minor medal…4×2…medley relay is what I see for him
Lauren 200 free, 400 free, 100 fly, medley relay, and 800 free relay.
I don’t think any golds but a lot of medal chances
Retta He’s no longer swimming 4free, fyi
Lauren Oh well. I think if he goes for the 200 fly he could be really good there too but unsure about that
Retta I know he likes 2fly, so hopefully he keeps it in his sights!
andrew He’s said he plans to swim it in 2020
Lauren Oh good!
Retta Andrew….not sure about that….he seemed certain at Commies
andrew 1:50 in this video
Retta Ohhhhhh, sorry, Andrew….I thought you meant 4free…yes, he’s locked in on 2fly. Says “it’s fun” (Editor’s note: this has since been confirmed again as his intention)
Per the Schooling convo, kid was 22.80 in 50free this AM before Widmer pulled him to ‘focus on Asian Games.’
Retta’s first pick….I’m personally surprised he didn’t go earlier & thrilled to have him on my roster….Duncan Scott!
Britain’s utility swimmer…medal threat in 1&2 free, even 2IM perhaps by 2020….will be on all of GBR’s relays
spencer Dang I was hoping he would fly under the radar long enough that I could get him
Retta My pick to start off next round is tough…deciding among 3 very dangerous Asian swimmers….will take a bit to choose.
2 Aussies are still in my elite mix as well….
Jared I figured Scott would be a late first rounder. Similar to Guy in my mind. Several good events, lots of good relays
Retta Beat Guy at Commies in 2free…has been as fast as 47.9 in hundy…1:57 2IM….#range
1:56 2fly for a non-fly specialist is extremely respectable.
Ok, moving on to my next pick….it’ll be a bit.
Jared Respectable is nice. But the game doesn’t awards points for respectable. You’d rather have a one-event gold lock than a possible medalist in four things. (I like the Scott pick. Woulda taken him with my next pick. Just playing devil’s advocate)
Retta I totally get it….that’s the trouble I’m having with next pick…the sure thing in 1 event, or count on a kid having a good meet and nailing 2 or 3 that he/she isn’t the outright favorite.
spencer I disagree with that line of thinking. I would rather take someone with the possibility of grabbing multiple medals over someone who is pretty much guaranteed to get 1 gold medal
Jared I’m the same way, retta. This draft was tougher to rank than the US one.
Retta With Scott, though, he will be on all relays (which are all medal contenders) and that’s huge.
Jared I can see that argument, spencer. I think it depends how good the chance is at medals in each event. One-event sure thing (Peaty) is a pretty good pickup. Someone with a very good shot at 2 bronzes with silver potential is probably better. But someone who has a very outside shot in like 4 events, I think I rank lower. It’s hard to include that many events in an Olympic program and hard to train specifically for all of them at the same time
spencer I think if we were doing this in June of 2020, I would be completely in the camp of prioritizing swimmers who are very likely to pick up 1 gold medal. We’re about 2 years and 1 month out from the 2020 Olympics, and I think a lot of things could happen in that period of time. There could be injuries, sickness, falling into a rut with their swimming, someone new could burst onto the scene, etc. I think if I were to put it more simply I would say nothing is guaranteed in this sport, especially when we’re talking about a meet that’s a little over 2 years away, so I would rather take people who have a chance at medaling in multiple events than someone who would most likely win gold in an event if we were holding the meet a month from now.
andrew I think the problem with that argument is that swimmer’s performances in their events aren’t independent. There’s unlikely to be a world where Leah Smith wins silver in the 400 free and misses the final in the 800 free. Her success in those events are correlated. Injury or sickness or other random pitfalls aren’t hedged by a swimmer having a larger event profile. Unless you think a swimmer is especially injury prone or likely to burn out, that’s a built in risk for everyone. It’s really a high ceiling vs a high floor question. High ceiling is a valid choice.
***End of Round 1***
Round 1 Summary
**Start of Round 2***
Retta Ok, 2nd round pick is Sun Yang
Morgan P Gah, that’s who I was debating between. Seems like a shoe in for two medals, seems like two silvers or silver + bronze is his floor, with two golds being his ceiling. Pretty dang good.
^insert doping caveat here
Retta With the 800 added, it’s possibly 3 🙂
Lauren Kristof Milak
Jared Two good picks. I was probably going Milak with the next pick if he got by
andrew Two of the first five men taken swim the 100 fly as a primary event. Neither of them is favored to win that event.
Lauren I think Milak will win the 200
Jared But we can’t take the guy who will win the 100.
I think it’s fascinating how many of the top men are mid-distance freestylers. Detti, Sun, Guy, Scott all in the first 10 picks and they all swim 200 and/or 400 free
Ok, well, I was hoping it wouldn’t break this way because it feels like putting all my eggs in one basket. But I’m gonna go with Gregorio Paltrinieri
He’s won every major mile since 2014 and has a good medal shot in the 8
spencer That’s a quality pick that wasn’t even on my radar
Morgan P Alright, I now need to rethink everything I’m doing haha
I was anticipating one of those three guys falling
I’ll take Emily Seebohm. Still Australia’s top backstroker, and been on prelim 4×100 freestyle relays for a long time now, too. Women’s backstrokes are crowded, but there are few—if any—sure things left at this point
Retta Gutsy racer, consistent on the whole…nice pick.
karl My turn! Penny Oleksiak for me
Great individual medal potential in 100 free and 100 fly (maybe the 200s too??) and also will be on every Canadian relay
Retta Agree on relays, but she’s been inconsistent individually since Rio.
andrew With 3 of my top 10 still on the board, this is a tough choice. I’m going to go Jiayu Xu. I don’t think I’ll get many relay points out of him, but he has the best double gold odds of anyone left.
Jared Men’s backstroke has gotten tough. I think Murphy is gonna bounce back big, and there’s all these young kids coming up.
spencer I’m going with Li Bingjie. She says she wants to challenge Ledecky in 2020. That might be an overstatement, but I think she can overtake Leah Smith for silver in the 400 and up. She also only needs to drop about a second in the 200 to be a medal contender in the 200 free. Also China’s 4×200 has a good shot at a medal.
Retta Xu was in my top 20
andrew Murphy and Xu have very similar PRs and are the same age, but Xu has been better recently. Could go either way in 2020.
I like the Bingjie pick. It was tough to pass on her.
Retta If Tokyo were tomorrow, Bingjie for sure.. .a lot can change in a 15-16 yr old in 2 yrs
Lauren Murph wins the 100. Murph or Rylov wins the 200.
Retta There’s another kid that’s primed to challenge…not listing names, though 😉
Lauren Boomer doesn’t count retta it’s international only
Retta Haha! Anyone under 25 is a kid to me!! 🙂
andrew But the guy you’re talking about is actually under 18.
Retta That’s the one! Infant! (Editor’s note: If you’re confused, we are talking about Kliment Kolesnikov, 17 year old Russian backstroker)
spencer I like Bingjie because even if she plateaus she’s already fast enough to medal
Reid Emma McKeon.
She has great potential to medal in the 100 fly and the 200 free, and she ought to be on all four Australian relays (that’s including the mixed medley).
Retta Agreed, Reid! Big point potential.
Jared That Aussie 4×1 still looks stout, even looking two years into the future
Braden Keith I’m going to take Kylie Masse as my 2nd round pick
Retta Another one of my top 8 bites the dust
Braden Keith That mixed medley makes her pretty valuable.
***End of Round 2***
Round 2 Summary
***Start of Round 3***
Braden Keith Then as my 3rd round pick, I’ll take Mack Horton.
Reid Yulia Efimova for my 3rd round pick.
Jared Reid officially earns the ire of the comment section
Reid I already have it.
andrew From a purely competitive point of view, it’s a strong pick.
Jared Agreed. Could easily end up outscoring Peaty, though much less of a sure thing for any golds
Are those the only two breaststrokers taken so far?
spencer Efimova is probably one of the most reliable picks for 2 medals. I had Masse on my list, but then I took her off, only because I feel like women’s backstroke has gotten so competitive that it’s hard for me to project who the best pick is 2 years out.
andrew In the hunt for a medley relay medal as well.
spencer I’ll take Kyle Chalmers because why not
For my 3rd round pick
andrew My team lacks someone with unlimited potential to get irrationally excited about, so I pick Ariarne Titmus.
The hype machine is in flipped all the way on in Australia for her. To quote Ian Thorpe, “It’s because of how well Ariarne Titmus is swimming that people go ‘Katie Ledecky is beatable’.” Also her nickname is “The Terminator.”
Retta Dang it, Andrew!!!! I thought people would forget about the Tasmanian teen!
Chalmers was on my list, too, but his relay potential is so dependant on who’s ‘on’ among the Aussies that particular day.
andrew Both of my models project Titmus and Ruck to have very similar individual medal totals.
I don’t actually buy the Ledecky-beater talk about Titmus, but she should be in the running for a bunch of minor medals.
Retta Being at the end of this draft order is so much harder than when I was in front!!
Lauren At least you weren’t 8th in both of them. Struggle
Jared Hard for me to get excited about any Australians right now, because they could look like world-beaters for the next two years and fade to 8th in the Olympic final
Retta …..or look like a potential finalist who winds up getting gold, a la King Kyle 🙂
Jared Chalmers really had no expectations on him in Rio. That’s the formula for success among Australians at the moment. If Titmus is an underdog to even medal in Tokyo, she probably gets a couple silvers. If she’s the clear-cut favorite behind Ledecky, she probably gets 8th
Just based on history
I think I like the Chalmers pick better than the Titmus pick. But they’re both about the best still available
andrew Chalmers has been a mystery to me post Rio. I have no idea what to think about the heart surgery that caused him to pull out of worlds. His 100 at Commonwealth was good (48.1), but it was a ways off of 47.5.
Retta His 200 is steady
Jared Yeah, my guess is Chalmers goes at least a full round earlier if he didn’t have heart surgery and miss 2017
spencer I was unsure whether I wanted him or not earlier, but with the pool that was left here in the 3rd round I feel like he was a strong pick. Fast individually and swims relay events.
Jared He was an 18-year-old Olympic champ. To me, that’s the perfect mix of youth and “already proved it” for this draft. Dependent, of course, on his long-term health
karl I’ll take Kliment Kolesnikov. Big potential and I think he’ll really break out this summer or next summer. Could be on all relays but obviously Russia is loaded with sprinters so this could be a mistake
Retta I don’t think it will be a mistake individually!
Lauren Who’s up?
Been stranded at jfk I’m bored
I’m ready to pick
Retta Morgan I think
Jared Lauren, you could tell us who you plan to pick
I’m open to suggestions to pick right before you
andrew Jared, surely Simona Quadarella fits your team’s theme best.
Lauren Yeah Jared that’s what I’m gonna do
Morgan P I’ll take Yui Ohashi. Like the double-medal potential in the IMs.
Jared That’s a nice pick. Young swimmer behind some people who could be really old by 2020 in events that are pretty physically punishing
Retta Another Retta choice gone….she is looking fierce….plus, not a bad 200 freestyler for 4×2
Lauren [Darn] it Morgan
Jared Isn’t every pick a Retta choice? Seriously, I tried to make notes when I thought a specific writer might like a specific swimmer as a draft pick. And I suspected Loretta liked almost every single one of these people 🙂
Retta Total truth!!! Nerding out w/ every pick
Now I’m nervous my next ones in line will get grabbed when it’s so close to my turn!!
spencer That’s a nice pick. I feel like the IM field behind Hosszu is pretty open, and Ohashi is looking very promising
Jared To my pick… feels like we’re on a youth kick in this round. So I’m hoping I can go against the tide and get a potentially huge-scoring vet who just has to hold off Father Time.
I’ll go with Mireia Belmonte
spencer I was seriously going to take her with my next pick because I didn’t think anybody would 🙁
Lack of relay medal potential downgrades her, unfortunately.
I was sure she’d get picked eventually….at least for 2fly/2IM power
Jared Relays are so small in this scoring, though. Two relay golds is basically one single individual silver
My worry is that she was already the oldest Olympic champ ever in the 200 fly in 2016. Do I think she can do it again four years later? Could really backfire on me. But she would have scored 20 points in this format at Worlds last summer
spencer She has also swum pretty well so far this year, so she’s not showing any signs of slowing down at the moment (edited)
andrew I think she’ll have to cut her event load a bit by 2020, but she should still be relevant in multiple events.
Retta I guess lack of relays combined with her post-2016 performances….Quadarella recently beat her and 4IM is nothing groundbreaking as of late….2 years may not help that.
Lauren I have to rethink this cause Morgan stole my thunder
Jared I’ve kind of always weighed experience and the ‘already proved it’ factor over unproven potential, a lot of times too much – whether that’s in power rankings, recruit rankings, predictions. That’s definitely showing through in my roster so far 🙂
Then again, there was a time Ye Shiwen and Maxime Rooney might’ve been high-round picks in these types of drafts. So I can see why I have that philosophy
andrew I think Shiwen qualifies as having ‘already proved it’
Jared After London, she definitely proved something. But even then… a 16-year-old girl swimming those times, you just don’t know if it’s sustainable
karl Belmonte could definitely grab as many as 4 medals (not sure how the schedule lines up) for 800/1500, 400 IM, 2 fly. Depends if she actually pares her schedule down though. Definitely a gold contender in the fly, but two more years could take its toll
Lauren Okay. Daiya Seto for me
Jared It’s an interesting philosophical question: in a draft like this, would you rather have a 16-year-old or a 22-year-old coming off of double Olympic golds with identical times? But that’s probably a discussion for a different day
andrew If Shiwen’s 2012 Olympics doesn’t count as ‘proving it,’ then I have no idea what ‘proving it’ means
Lauren Idk after 2016 I just don’t think I would pick her
karl Honestly I’m nervous picking young cuz I don’t know if they’ll turn out to be medal contenders. Also nervous to pick old cuz I don’t know if they’ll turn out to be medal contenders.
Lauren Do you know anything Karl
Also looping back but I support the Ohashi pick, think there are two IM silvers and a potential gold there if Hosszu is off
andrew I’m not picking Shiwen anymore. I think she’s past her peak, but she’s definitely shown she’s capable of being at the top level. It would be silly to say Shiwen has ‘unrealized potential’
Jared As far as Ye goes, I think in 2012 she certainly ‘proved it’ in one sense – proving she could do it in the Olympic spotlight. The unproven part for me is that her 400 IM time was so insanely faster than her previous level of swimming, she probably needed to swim at or near that level at least one more time to prove she was going to be that historically dominating moving forward. Ledecky had the same thing. When she won the 800 in 2012, she proved she was good enough to be an Olympic champ. But there was no guarantee she’d be the Ledecky we know now until she repeated that level of swimming a couple times
andrew A bit off topic, but I think the narrative that Shiwen’s 2012 400 IM was a crazy out of no where swim is simply incorrect. In 2010 she won the Asian Games at age 14 in a 4:33. Two years later, after growing nearly 5 inches, she won the Olympics in 4:28. That’s not a crazy improvement. That’s an age grouper improving as we would expect.
Jared Yeah, this is a point-counterpoint we should do another time. I dislike the immediate doping allegations that cropped up just because she had swum fast. That’s not good enough evidence for that kind of allegation. But I do think that swim was a drastic enough improvement to wonder if it was a fluke or if it was sustainable. It’s not uncommon to see an outlier swim that never gets repeated by that swimmer
Lauren I recall a lot of the talk was about how she closed faster than Lochte
spencer Lauren yeah that’s pretty much all I remember from that race
Retta Rnd 3 pick…..Ok…somewhat risky pick, but going with Kosuke Hagino. Will need to step things up big-time to hold off Kalisz, but he’s done it before. Plus he’s automatic contender in 2IM…maybe even 2free if he can train back to his 1:45 days .
And, he will be gunning to please home crowd/his nation 2020
Retta No comments on Hagino?
Ok, round 4…so tough….
Jared I think he’s a good pick. He’s only 23.
And I think was injured/had surgery last year. So a good chance for a bounce-back
***End of Round 3***
Round 3 Summary
***Start of Round 4***
Retta Going with Mitch Larkin….his times are slowly improving from his shaky 2017 and I know he’s happy to be back at SPW . He is lurking as a possible IM minor medal contender as well.
Lauren Sydney Pickrem
Jared Petition that if she crawls out of the pool after 50 meters, Lauren only gets 1/4 of the point for a finals appearance
Jared Well, I desperately need some youth and some relay value on my roster. So I’ll take Anton Chupkov
karl Pickrem is a great choice, as is Chupkov. Have to give Chupkov a bump cuz of the Russian medley, but he may not be on it
Jared I’m hoping his 100 continues to improve. He’s been a lifetime-best 59.1 already this year. But those Russian relay spots are kind of all hotly-contested right now
andrew I also like the Pickrem and Chupkov picks. However, going back a couple picks, I’m not sold on Larkin. Yes, he was faster at Commonwealths than last year at worlds, but there are 5 guys younger than him in both backstroke events that have been faster than him in the last year and a half.
Jared The men’s backstrokes are insane. I’m sort of trusting that the Americans will hog the gold medals (because over the last 20 years, they pretty much have) and then there are so many other medal contenders
Retta I agree Larkin is dicey, but his 2IM in particular has improved exponentially.
Plus, he’s finally at a permanent training home once again.
Morgan P I’ll take Chad Le Clos. Won the 200 fly last summer, and swept the fly events at Commonwealths. Sounds like he got his head on right again this year, too. No relay threat here really, but still worth the gold potential.
karl Vlad Morozov for me. Some medal chances in the 50 and 100 free, I’m hoping he’ll still be around for relays, too. Won’t forget that 46 split at Worlds last summer
Morgan P Good call there.
andrew Wang Jianjiahe. I’m going to continue to play the distance kid lottery. With the additional event, there are so many medals available. She has 3 top 5 times in the world over the last 18 months and at 15, she’s younger than Bingjie. Her 400 and 800 times from the Atlanta PSS this year would have been 3rd and 4th at worlds.
Jared Really exciting pick. If I weren’t already so heavy on distance, I’d have considered her in the next round
spencer I’m going to take a leap of faith and pray it doesn’t blow up in my face. My 4th round pick is Hugo Gonzalez. He won the 200 back and 400 IM and World Juniors last summer, and had a great freshman year in the NCAA. I feel like his LCM times so far this year haven’t reflected that as much, but the summer isn’t over yet. Who knows, 2020 could be a big year for him.
Reid OK, for my fourth pick I’m going to go with Evgeny Rylov. I don’t think Russia has anyone else in backstroke capable of getting past both him and Kolesnikov, so he should at least bring in relay points and will likely race in the finals of both the 100 and 200 backstrokes, but who knows about an individual medal.
andrew Tarasevich could get past them in the 100. I’d bet on Rylov, but Tarasevich is in range. I like the Rylov pick. I was scared off him by the shoulder injury stuff, but that’s probably just paranoia on my part. He’s swum fast since.
Jared I was deciding hard between Rylov and Chupkov with my last pick. They’re shockingly similar: both 21, both world champs in the 200 but less accomplished in the 100, both could be on two Russian medleys or neither of them
Braden Keith My next pick is Nandor Nemeth. Kozma got the National Record last year, Bohus’ from-the-block split of 47.21 was still much faster, but Bohus hasn’t done anything this year (and his flat-start hasn’t lived up to that split). At only 18, Nemeth’s upside is enormous, and I feel better right now about a 100/200 guy’s chance at medals than a 50/100 guy. Plus, I think new-era Katinka Hosszu might be more into relays, which could give Hungary an incredible mixed medley, in addition to 4×100
***End of Round 4***
Round 4 Summary
|Morgan||Chad le Clos|
The next 4 rounds will be published later (they are already done). Here are everyone’s teams after 4 rounds
|Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|Braden||Sarah Sjostrom||Kylie Masse||Mack Horton||Nandor Nemeth|
|Reid||Taylor Ruck||Emma McKeon||Yulia Efimova||Evgeny Rylov|
|Spencer||Rikako Ikee||Li Bingjie||Kyle Chalmers||Hugo Gonzalez|
|Andrew||Katinka Hosszu||Jiayu Xu||Ariarne Titmus||Wang Jiajiahe|
|Karl||Adam Peaty||Penny Oleksiak||Kliment Kolesnikov||Vlad Morozov|
|Morgan||Cate Campbell||Emily Seebohm||Yui Ohashi||Chad le Clos|
|Jared||Gabriele Detti||Gregorio Paltrinieri||Mireia Belmonte||Anton Chupkov|
|Lauren||James Guy||Kristof Milak||Daiya Seto||Sydney Pickrem|
|Retta||Duncan Scott||Sun Yang||Kosuke Hagino||Mitch Larkin|