Ranking The Top 15 Female Swimmers Of The 2023 World Championships

2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

After witnessing a week of competitive racing, records being shattered, and swimmers stepping up on the big stage, SwimSwam has decided to rank the top 15 female swimmers of the 2023 World Championships in order to highlight some of the best performers at this meet.

Some of these choices were no-brainers. However, others were more difficult to make, and we had to split hairs to decide on the placements of a few swimmers on this list. We understand that not everyone will agree with our rankings, so if you disagree with anything, please feel free to explain why in the comments (in a civilized manner, of course).

These rankings were weighted primarily on individual performances, while other factors like relays and the overall quality of a swimmer’s time were considered.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Erika Fairweather, New Zealand (Individual: 1B)—A singular bronze medal might not warrant an honorable mention, but a sub-four minute 400 freestyle does. Fairweather had the performance of her life in the women’s 400 free final, running down former world record holder Summer McIntosh on the final lap of the race to take third. Her final time of 3:59.59 made her just the fifth woman in history to break 4 minutes in the 400 free, as well as the fifth-fastest performer of all time. She might have difficulties getting on the podium in the future, as she’s competing in the deepest 400 free field of all time, but she won a medal and etched herself into the history books at this meet and that’s what matters the most right now.
  • Meg Harris, Australia (Relay: 1G, 2S, 1 WR)—Harris does not get enough credit where it is due. At Worlds, she produced 100 free splits of 52.55, 52.29, 52.40, and 52.82, but only swam on one finals relay because she happens to be from the deepest freestyle country in the world. However, her contributions shouldn’t be overlooked—she stepped up on three different prelims relays so her teammates could be rested for finals without having to worry about if they would qualify or not. In addition, because of her prelims performance, she also got to be part of Australia’s world record-breaking 4×100 free relay in the finals. The only non-Australian swimmers that outperformed Harris’ best relay split were Sarah Sjostrom, Marrit Steenbergen, and Kate Douglass, so it’s safe to say that she’s still one of the best relay swimmers in the world despite not being in many finals.

15. Marrit Steenbergen, Netherlands (Individual: 1B)

Marrit Steenbergen by Fabio Cetti

Like Harris, Steenbergen gets recognized largely because of her relay performances, but she receives the nod into the top 15 by virtue of her individual medal and multiple sub-52 splits.

Throughout the course of Worlds, Steenbergen was one of the best and most consistent relay performers, stepping up time and time again for the Netherlands despite not winning any relay medals for her efforts. She produced splits of 52.12, 51.84, 52.13, 52.09, 51.99, and 51.96 during her meet, having to race prelims and finals of the women’s 4×100 free relay, mixed medley relay, and women’s medley relay. The only other swimmers that outperformed her fastest relay performance were Douglass, Mollie O’Callaghan, and Shayna Jack. She also swam on the 4×200 free relay, clocking a 1:55.47.

Steenbergen’s most notable split was her 51.84 on the 4×100 free relay, which came approximately 40 minutes after she swam a 2:09.30 in the 200 IM semi-finals. She differs from all the other top relay performers because she had to race prelims and finals relays (as the Netherlands isn’t a super deep swimming nation), so the fact that she wasn’t showing signs of fatigue toward the end of the meet is super impressive.

And of course, Steenbergen’s individual achievements need to be talked about as well. She won bronze in the 100 free in a new best time of 52.71, claiming her first individual World Championships medal. She also finished fifth in the 200 free with a new best time (1:55.51), as well as seventh in the 200 IM (2:11.89) and eighth in the 50 free (24.61).

In total, Steenbergen recorded 21 different swims at these Worlds that combined for a total of 2,700 meters (in comparison, Douglass raced 13 times and swam 1,900 meters, and O’Callaghan raced 10 times and swam 1,300 meters), so big props to her for holding it together for so long.

14. Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong (Individual: 1S)

Siobhan Haughey by Fabio Cetti

After sitting out of the 2022 Worlds due to an ankle injury, Haughey came back this year and found herself right back on the podium.

The highlight of Haughey’s meet was the women’s 100 free, where she went a season-best time of 52.49 to take silver. She also had a phenomenal 200 free swim, clocking a 1:53.96 that was just 0.04 seconds off her Olympic silver medal-winning time from two years ago (which had made her the seventh-fastest performer of all-time). However, the 200 free field was much deeper than it had been in Tokyo, and she finished off the podium placing in fourth just 0.33 seconds behind bronze medal winner Summer McIntosh.

Haughey didn’t have the opportunity to swim on as many relays compared to her competitors, as none of Hong Kong’s relays qualified for a final. However, she did get to show off her versatility on these relays, dropping a 52.59 100 free split in the 4×100 free relay, and also splitting a 1:07.49 100 breast on the women’s medley relay.

Considering that many stars of the Tokyo Olympics struggled to find their spark after the meet, the fact that Haughey was able to be right at her best after an injury shows incredible longevity and endurance.

13. Li Bingjie, China (Individual: 1S, 1B Relay: 1B)

Li Bingjie by Fabio Cetti

Coming into Worlds, Li was best known for being the Asian record holder in the women’s 400 free. However, the 800 and 1500 free was where she really shined at this meet.

Li’s meet started in the 400 free, where she went 4:01.65 (0.57 seconds off her Asian record) and finished fifth. However, she only got better after that swim, posting a personal best time of 15:45.71 by over eight seconds to take bronze in the 1500 free. She also led off China’s 4×200 free relay in a time of 1:55.83, helping her team get bronze.

However, it was Li’s final performance that earned her a spot in the top 15. In the 800 free, Li took second, upsetting the silver medal favorite Ariarne Titmus by running her down on the back end of the race. She posted a time of 8:13.31, which was the 29th-fastest performance of all-time and made her the second-fastest performer ever. She didn’t beat Katie Ledecky, but she did cut Ledecky’s streak of top performances in the 800 free from 30 to 29, which is an accomplishment in itself.

After medaling across the 400/800/1500 free distances as a 17-year-old at the 2017 Worlds, Li fell off the pace in the longer distance events, failing to final in the 800 and 1500 free at the Olympics. However, now she is back to being one of the best distance swimmers in the world.

12. Tatjana Schoenmaker, South Africa (Individual: 1G, 1S)

Tatjana Schoenmaker by Fabio Cetti

Even though Schoenmaker won Olympic gold in the 200 breast two years ago, there was some uncertainty about whether she would be able to maintain her position at the top after skipping Worlds last year. However, she proved the doubters wrong by finishing this year’s Worlds as the best overall 100/200 breaststroker on the women’s side.

In the 100 breast, Schoenmaker finished behind a dominant Ruta Meilutyte, but she still swam a time of 1:05.84 to earn a silver medal. In addition, her time of 1:05.53 from the semi-finals was her third-fastest performance ever, behind the 1:05.07 and 1:04.82 times that she swam at the Tokyo Olympics.

Later on, Schoenmaker held off a charging Douglass to win gold in the 200 breast, becoming the first South African woman to win a World Championships title. Her time of 2:20.80 was off her best time of 2:18.95 from the Olympics, but it was her fastest performance that didn’t come from the Olympics. And although world record holder Evgeniia Chikunova swam a time of 2:19.71 a few days ago that would beat Schoenmaker’s time, a win is still a win.

Schoenmaker scratched her final event, the 50 breast, in the semi-finals to pave the way for the qualification of her teammate, Lara Van Niekerk. Her medals were big for both her country and continent, as she was the only African female swimmers that earned any hardware at these World Championships.

11. Regan Smith, United States (Individual: 3S, 1B Relay: 1G)

Regan Smith by Fabio Cetti

Although Smith didn’t win a single individual gold at these World Championships, she still walked away as the only swimmer, male or female, to come out of the meet with four individual medals.

Smith did a silver sweep across the backstroke races, with Kaylee McKeown beating her in every single race. We can’t lie and say that this wasn’t bittersweet for her—she lost the 50 back by 0.03 seconds and lost the 100 back by 0.25, and she added over a second from her season-best in the 200 back. In that 200 back, she swam a time of 2:04.94, while her 2:03.80 from Nationals would have beaten McKeown’s gold medal-winning time in the 2:03.85.

That same kind of bittersweet finish came in the 200 fly as well, as she picked up a bronze in a time of 2:06.78 even though her season-best of 2:03.87 would have beaten Summer McIntosh‘s gold-medal winning time of 2:04.06.

Despite Smith’s disappointing individual performances by her standards, she still has a lot to be proud of. No woman in history with the exception of McKeown and Kylie Masse has matched her 100 back time, and her 27.10 in the semi-finals of the 50 back was an American record. And on the final day of the Worlds, she swam a 57.68 to help the United States win gold in the women’s medley relay—not only was her time faster than her individual swim by 0.1 of a second, but she also beat out McKeown’s 57.91 leadoff.

Smith also made a lot of progress just by swimming the 200 back at these Worlds—for the last two years, she had failed to qualify for the event by underperforming at U.S. trials.

McKeown and McIntosh got the best of Smith at these World Championships, but Smith still remains one of the best female swimmers in the world and can turn many of her silvers into gold next year if she swims her best races at the right moment.

10. Shayna Jack, Australia (Individual: 1S Relay: 3G, 1S, 2 WR)

Shayna Jack, by FINIS

Out of all the swimmers mentioned in this article, it was the hardest to decide where Jack would be placed. On one hand, she was hands-down the best relay performer at these Worlds and absolutely deserves to be high on this list. On the other hand though, she “only” has one individual silver, which puts her behind several swimmers who won individual golds/broke individual world records and also had strong relay performances.

So let’s talk about Jack’s relay times. Throughout the course of Worlds, she produced rolling splits of 51.69, 51.66, 51.53, and 51.73 when no other woman had been under 51.7, showing consistency at the highest level. She also led off Australia’s 4×100 free relay in prelims with a time of 52.28, which would have taken silver individually had she qualified to swim the event (and had she been from any country other than Australia, she would have been able to race the 100 free individually). She also split 1:55.63 on Australia’s 4×200 free relay, which had broken the world record.

In total, Jack earned three relay golds, one silver, and was a part of three world-record-breaking squads (the women’s 4×100 and 4×200 free relay, as well as the mixed 4×100 free relay).

Individually, Jack raced the 50 free and took silver. Nobody came close to touching Sjostrom in this race, but Jack still posted a formidable time of 24.10, and her semi-finals time of 24.01 made her the 14th-fastest performer of all time. Her performances at this meet raised questions about what damage she could have done if she raced the 100 free individually, but those questions are not going to be answered until Paris 2024 rolls around.

9. Kate Douglass, United States (Individual: 1G, 1S Relay: 1G, 2S, 1B)

Kate Douglass by Fabio Cetti

At the 2022 World Championships, Douglass was the slowest finals performer on Team USA’s 4×100 freestyle relay and added two seconds from her trials time in the 200 breast. Now, a year later, she’s returning from Fukuoka as a long-course world champion and one of Team USA’s best swimmers.

Douglass’s versatility was on full display at these World Championships. She won Team USA’s first gold medal at this meet by virtue of her 200 IM victory, where she was 0.8 seconds clear of the rest of the field. Though she benefitted from the absence of 2023 world leader Summer McIntosh and the disqualification of third seed McKeown (who had a personal best just 0.02 seconds off Douglass’s winning time), Douglass still posted an impressive time of 2:07.17, which was 0.08 seconds off her personal best time of 2:07.09 that made her the sixth-fastest performer of all-time.

Later on in the meet, Douglass had to handle a unique 100 free/200 breast double that not many other swimmers would attempt to do. She missed the podium in the 100 free by 0.1 of a second and finished fourth, and then went on to take silver in the 200 breast just 44 minutes later. In her 200 breast, she was 0.43 seconds behind gold medalist Schoenmaker and began to close in on her in the back half of the race.

And of course, we can’t forget to mention Douglass’s relay contributions. She was by far the best relay performer for Team USA, producing splits of 52.28, 51.79, 52.42, and 52.41 in the 100 free across four different relays. Her 51.79 split was only better by Jack and O’Callaghan and made her the fastest American relay performer ever. For her efforts, she earned gold in the women’s medley relay, silvers in both the women’s and mixed 4×100 free relays, as well as a bronze in the mixed relay.

Douglass ended the meet with six medals, a total that was only matched by Mollie O’Callaghan amongst female swimmers.

8. Zhang Yufei, China (Individual: 1G, 1S, 1B Relay: 1G, 1B)

Zhang Yufei by Fabio Cetti

After being overshadowed by Maggie MacNeil and Torri Huske several times in the past, Zhang is finally coming out of a major international meet as the undisputed best 100 flyer in the world.

Zhang took gold in the 100 fly with a time of 56.12, posting her fastest time in the event since Tokyo. But arguably her best race came later on in the meet in the 50 fly, where she clocked a 25.05 for silver to become the second-fastest performer ever and break apart Sjostrom’s streak of top 23 performances in the event. She qualified for the 50 free final just 17 minutes after than 50 fly swim, and a day later she put up a personal best of 24.14 to take bronze.

In addition to her individual performances, Zhang was also a star on relays. On day one, she anchored China’s 4×100 free relay with a 52.84 to help them win bronze and break the Asian record. Then, on day four, she scratched the 200 fly in order to focus on the mixed medley relay, and it paid off when she split a 55.69 100 fly (the fastest fly split amongst female swimmers) to help her country win gold. She still had one more fast fly split in her on the final day of the meet and ripped a 55.50 (once again, the fastest split in the field) on the women’s medley relay.

Following a rough 2022 Worlds where she wasn’t near her best, Zhang bounce back in a big way this year, winning two gold medals and setting two personal best times.

7. Summer McIntosh, Canada (Individual: 2G, 1B Relay: 1B)

Summer McIntosh by Fabio Cetti

McIntosh’s Worlds got off to a rough start, as she added three seconds, missed the podium, and lost her world record in the 400 free. However, it only went uphill from there for her.

After a day off, McIntosh redeemed herself by taking bronze in the 200 free. Her time of 1:53.65 was a new World Junior Record and also made her the fifth-fastest performer in history. The momentum didn’t stop there, as she qualified for the 200-fly final just an hour afterward.

In that 200 fly final a day later, McIntosh defended her World title and set yet again another World Junior Record in a time of 2:04.06 (in the 200 fly, she is also the fifth-fastest in history). Then, she did the reverse of what she did a day prior, clocking a 1:53.97 200 free split in the same session as her 200 fly.

Perhaps McIntosh’s most dominant win came in the 400 IM. She was off her world record time of 4:25.87 in that event, but she still mustered up a 4:27.11 to crush Katinka Hosszu‘s championship record time of 4:29.33. In addition, she beat the field by over four seconds. To close things off, she anchored Canada’s women’s medley relay in a time of 53.48, helping them to a bronze medal.

McIntosh now has a total of four World Championships golds, which means that she passed Masse as the winningest Canadian swimming in World Championships history. Although she had that blip at the beginning of her meet, she still came out with two gold medals, two best times, and two World Junior Records. She put on a display of range and dominance through her time in Fukuoka, and the sky is the limit for this young sixteen-year-old.

6. Katie Ledecky, United States (Individual: 2G, 1S Relay: 1S)

Katie Ledecky by Fabio Cetti

It’s hard to believe that one of the most dominant swimmers on the planet would rank as low as sixth on a list like this, but that’s what happens when several swimmers at these World Championships either broke world records or made history.

Nonetheless, Ledecky’s World Championships meet further cemented her already very strong legacy as one of swimming’s greatest. She won the 1500 free by a whopping 17 seconds, clocking a time of 15:26.27 which was the third-fastest performance in history. After winning the 800 free in dominant fashion once more, she became the first swimmer ever to win six-straight titles in a World Championships individual event. That 800 free win was also her 16th Worlds individual gold, which had her surpassing Phelps as the winningest swimmer in World Championships history.

Although she wasn’t as dominant in the shorter distance events as she is in the longer ones, Ledecky still got the job done swimming the 400 and 200 free. In the 400 free, she swam a season-best time of 3:58.73 to take silver next to Ariarne Titmus. Then, in the 4×200 free relay, she split a 1:54.39 (the fastest split on her team) to help the Americans take silver behind Australia.

In a meet where it felt like the Americans lacked superstars, Ledecky proved that she can always be counted on to dominate.

5. Ariarne Titmus, Australia (Individual: 1G, 1S, 1B, 1 WR Relay: 1G, 1 WR)

Ariarne Titmus by Fabio Cetti

After O’Callaghan beat her in the 200 free at trials and McIntosh took down her 400 free world record, some were projecting Titmus to come home from the World Championships with zero individual titles. However, she proved her doubters wrong in her very first individual final, where she destroyed her competition by over three seconds and took back the 400 free world record. Her overall time of 3:55.38 made her the fastest in history by 0.7 seconds, as well as the first woman to ever get under the 3:56 barrier.

Titmus continued her streak of momentum into the 200 free, where she took a silver medal. Although she was leading for the first 150 meters of the race and got run down by O’Callaghan (who eventually broke the world record), she still went a best time of 1:53.01, which was the third-fastest 200 free performance in history. She had arguably an even better 200 free performance a day later, when she anchored Australia’s world record-breaking 4×200 free relay in a split of 1:52.41, which was the fastest split in history. She is now the fastest 4×200 free relay performer by over a second, as well as the only woman to split under 1:53 seconds (and she’s done it twice).

To close out her meet, Titmus tied her personal best and Oceanic record time of 8:13.59 in the 800 free, claiming a bronze medal.

After her dominant 400-free performance and her 200 free individual and relay swims at Worlds, it is safe to say that Titmus is hands-down the best female mid-distance swimmer in the World.

4. Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania (Individual: 2G, 2 WR)

Ruta Meilutyte by Fabio Cetti

Two years ago, Meilutyte was retired from the sport of swimming. Now, she’s the best sprint breaststroker in the world and a long course world record holder.

Meilutyte made her dominance at these Worlds known from the very beginning, clocking a 1:04.67 100 breast in the prelims of the event. She was the fastest performer in the semi-finals too, and then closed things off with a 1:04.62 in the finals to win by over a second. Her two 1:04-point 100 breast performances were the fastest that someone has been in the event since 2017, as well as the eighth and ninth-fastest performances of all-time.

Then, Meilutyte continued her streak of strong performances into the 50 breast. After finishing 8th in prelims, she exploded in the semi-finals, tying Benedetta Pilato’s then-world record in a time of 29.30. She then went on to break that world record in finals, going 29.16.

From less than 60 seconds of racing, Meilutyte earned $60,000 worth of prize money just from setting two world records. Including her $20,000 bonuses from winning the 50 and 100 breast, her prize money total is a whopping $100,000—a number that only O’Callaghan was able to out-earn.

3. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden (Individual: 2G, 1 WR)

Sarah Sjostrom by Fabio Cetti

14 years after winning her first world title and breaking her first world record at the 2009 World Championships, Sjostrom is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down.

Although Sjostrom opted to only swim 50s at these World Championships, she gave swim fans a peek of her form when she led off Sweden’s women’s 4×100 free relay in a time of 52.24, which is the second-fastest time in the world currently and would have taken silver in the individual 100 free. Then, five days later, she went on a tear in her pet events, the 50 fly and 50 free.

First, in the 50 fly semi-finals, she clocked the fourth-fastest performance ever (24.74) in the event. She then backed that time up with a 24.77 in the finals, winning her fifth-consecutive 50 fly World title. Then, just 15 minutes after her 50 fly win, she took down her 50 free world record from 2017 by 0.06 seconds, going a 23.61 in the semi-finals. The next day, she won the 50 free final by a massive margin of 0.48 seconds and just missed her new world record by 0.01 of a second.

After that 50 free win, Sjostrom produced one final fast swim, anchoring Sweden’s women’s medley relay with a 52.08 100 free split.

Sjostrom now has 21 individual World Championships medals, which means she has passed Phelps as the swimmer with the most individual World titles in history.

2. Kaylee McKeown, Australia (Individual: 3G Relay: 2S)

Kaylee McKeown by Fabio Cetti

McKeown’s first event of these World Championships was riddled with controversy, as she had been DQed from the 200 IM semi-finals due to a back-to-breast turn where she had rotated onto her side too early. She had been favored to medal in the event and her personal best time of 2:07.19 was just 0.02 seconds away from the gold medal-winning time. However, she didn’t let that DQ affect the rest of her meet, as she came back to win three individual gold medals.

In the 100 back, McKeown clocked a 57.53 to break Regan Smith‘s championship record. Her time was the fourth-fastest performance of all-time, and also just 0.08 seconds off of her own world record. Then, she swam a 27.08 to win the 50 back, breaking the Oceanic record and becoming the third-fastest swimmer in the history of the event. To cap things off, she went a time of  2:03.85 to win the 200 back by over a second.

McKeown swam the backstroke leg on two relays—the mixed and women’s medley relays. She earned a silver medal in both relays.

With her wins in the 50, 100, and 200 back, McKeown is now the first woman to sweep the 50/100/200 of a stroke, and just the second person ever to do so (with Qin Haiyang completing the feat a day prior to McKeown).

1. Mollie O’Callaghan, Australia (Individual: 2G, 1 WR Relay: 3G, 1S, 3WR)

Mollie O’Callaghan by Fabio Cetti

With five gold medals and four world records, O’Callaghan was hands-down the most decorated swimmer at these World Championships, male or female. And with her 100 and 200 free performances, she put on a show.

O’Callaghan first established herself as a heavy favorite to win the 100 free when she led off Australia’s world-record-breaking 4×100 free relay in a time of 52.08, making her the sixth-fastest performer of all-time. She continued that momentum into the 200 free, where she had arguably the most impressive swim of the meet. In that 200 free, she took down the oldest world record in women’s swimming, putting up a 1:52.85 to shave 0.13 seconds off of Federica Pellegrini’s super suited world record from 2009. She was also the second woman in history to get under the 1:53-point barrier. A day later, O’Callaghan recorded her second-fastest 200 free performance ever—a 1:53.66 leadoff leg to help the Australians to yet another world record in the 4×200 free relay.

In the 100 free, O’Callaghan was able to successfully defend her World title, going 52.16 to beat out her competition by 0.33 seconds with her lethal back half.

After her individual racing ended, O’Callaghan added two more medals to her collection, splitting a 51.71 on Australia’s world record-breaking mixed 4×100 free relay, and then anchoring Australia’s women’s medley relay for silver in a time of 51.99.

At just 19 years old, O’Callaghan is already making a case to be the world’s best female swimmer. She already is the first woman to win both the 100 and 200 freestyle at a World Championships meet, and don’t be surprised if she continues to get better headed into the Paris games.

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Prince
1 month ago

My top 10

10. Kate Douglass
9. Sara Sjostrom
8. Ruta Meilutyte
7. Zhang Yufei
6. Regan Smith
5. Kaylee McKeown
4. Mollie O’Callaghan
3. Ariarne Titmus
2. Katie Ledecky
1. Summer McIntosh

I’m not going to overreact to the world championships. I’m also projecting where these 10 will be by the time Olympics come based on talent, competition, ceiling, and performance.

Just my opinion.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Prince
1 month ago

So, your world championship top 10 is not based on world Championship results. Got it.

Prince
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
1 month ago

The World Championship results are a factor but not the entire factor. I can’t believe that because of one meet, the Lithuanian woman is suddenly a better swimmer than Ledecky or Summer. I can’t be prisoner of the moment.

Robbos
1 month ago

Everyone has different opinions on how we judged the best swimmers.
IMHO it’s very easy, you win the 100 & 200 Freestyle, especially with one being a WR, you are the best swimmer.
Freestyle is the fastest stroke, 100 & 200 are the glamour events.
I also give non Olympic events 50s in strokes less kudos. Some look at versatility, I don’t.

However for me easy call for me MOC.

As for Ledecky @ No6, this is just purely a compliment on her greatness, gold in 800/1500 & silver in 400 & 4 x200 relay for any other swimmer would be rated much higher.
However, also shows how great female swimmers there are.
My top… Read more »

Rise Again
1 month ago

WHo wins MOC v Ledecky in a 300m race ?

Admin
Reply to  Rise Again
1 month ago

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH.

Great question.

I don’t have enough MOC in the 400 data to answer, but I would lean Ledecky. But I don’t know.

Troyy
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

The best we have is an untapered Mollie’s 4:07 earlier this year where she was 1:55 in the same meet.

Wow
Reply to  Rise Again
1 month ago

Ledecky. And I don’t think it would be real close either.

Dan Foster
Reply to  Wow
1 month ago

You cannot be serious. MOC would win by a fingernail.

Yikes
Reply to  Rise Again
1 month ago

Oooh. I lean MOC but that’s a tough one. What about Titmus vs Ledecky in a 600?

Last edited 1 month ago by Yikes
Troyy
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

Ledecky and MOC vs Ledecky vs Titmus vs McIntosh in the 300 = Titmus win

Brownish
Reply to  Rise Again
1 month ago

Titmus 😉

David S
Reply to  Rise Again
1 month ago

The Australian by a body length

Last edited 1 month ago by David S
saltie
1 month ago

KD being underrated as usual. Who else can do a 100 free, 200 IM, and 200 breast. She popped off at this meet in the face of the bathtub haters. Give her some credit.

I feel like Ledecky should be higher than 6th but it’s also hard to put her ahead of Ruta, Ariarne, and Sarah so that’s tough.

Congrats to MOC, such an incredible meet for her.

and note for the author, Ruta broke 1 world record not 2.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  saltie
1 month ago

Who would you place her above? Everyone above her won more/better medals and/or broke individual world records

Troyy
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

She deserves special points for swimming breast and free of course.

Dolphinbottle88
Reply to  saltie
1 month ago

She tied a world record, and then she broke it again in finals. If you break a WR twice in the same event (at the same meet) It’s considered 2 WR’s.

Troyy
Reply to  saltie
1 month ago

Ruta’s 50 semi and final swims count as two world records

comment image

Viking Steve
1 month ago

“Douglass had to handle a unique 100 free/200 breast double that not many other swimmers would attempt to do. has never been attempted at a world championship or Olympic competition in history. ”

If fixed that for you.

If there was a list for best overall swimmer of the meet, K8 would be #1 going away because she excelled at multiple strokes over a range of distances… not just all backstroke, sprint breaststroke, distance freestyle, 50s alone etc like the other women not named Summer.

Last edited 1 month ago by Viking Steve
Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

I guess you also thought MA was swimmer of the meet when he made finals of four different strokes but won no medals?

She swam 3 events over 2 distances, won one and medalled in another. Not even close to comparable to people who broke WRs.

Troyy
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

McIntosh swum three distancess if you include relays and the same number of strokes.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Kate Douglass: 100 free, 200 breast, 200 IM, 100 free (relay) – 4 different types of swims

Summer McIntosh: 200 free, 400 free, 200 fly, 400IM, 100 free (relay), 200 free (relay) – 6 different types of swims

Not sure why people are mad that you stated a literal undisputable fact.

Wow
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

Because Troyy clearly didn’t read the part that said “women not named Summer.” and jumped to comment immediately. Bro thought he ate when he just didn’t read. 🤡 Also, McIntosh events there are fairly commonly paired together. She was used on the 100 relay because of a depth issue. Douglass events are very uncommonly paired. She can do 50 free to the 200 breast. It’s easier to double up on the events McIntosh does, not so much Douglass.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wow
Riser
Reply to  Wow
1 month ago

Both Douglass and McIntosh had tough doubles. KD’s were definitely more unusual and not something you see very often. However I wouldn’t call doubling up on the 200 Fly and 200 Free or swimming an anchor leg in the the medley final 30 minutes after winning the 400IM a walk in the park either.

Both women swam exceptionally well in tough circumstances.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Wow
1 month ago

“She can do 50 free to 200 breast” yeah but she didn’t, so who cares?

Not sure why Summer is being excluded. Viking literally said “Kate is the best swimmer of the meet because she’s the second most versatile behind Summer”. Summer is more versatile and got better results. Why would that make Kate #1? lol

Wow
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

I’m not arguing that Summer had the better meet – I’m saying that Douglass is more versatile than McIntosh. And she is. 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast, 200 breast, 100 fly, 200 IM. 50 free through to 200 breast? Unheard of. McIntosh: 200 FL, 400 FR, 400 IM, 800 FR, 200 IM – all common mixtures of events. Versatile for sure, but not the most versatile swimmer at the meet.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Wow
1 month ago

Summer was the more versatile swimmer at the meet because she swam in and qualified in all of those events. When Kate Douglass swims in and excels at a bunch of different events on the world stage then call her the most versatile.

Honestly the worship on here is embarrassing. You could write ‘Kate Douglass is amazing but isn’t better than Phelps’ and would be downvoted to oblivion.

Troyy
Reply to  Wow
1 month ago

Kind of biased to include 100 breast for Douglass and then exclude 100 fly and 200 back for McIntosh (both are worth more FINA points than Douglass’ 100 breast) especially considering McIntosh’s 200 back PB would’ve got her 4th in Fukuoka.

jeff
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

man speaking of her 200 back, I really want to see a full out tapered one from Summer at point. Her 200 back PB is almost a full second slower than the first 200 of her 400 IM so I have to believe she has a lot to drop. Probably will end up like Phelps where she has an elite 200 back in her but so many other events that she doesn’t really end up swimming it

Last edited 1 month ago by jeff
Troyy
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

She can probably go a nice PB in the 100 free and 100 back if she could swim it fresh and in peak shape and tapered. That 54.99 on day one was definitely not reflective of her capabilities nor that 53 mid split on the final day. I say she’s got a 53.7 or so in her and a 59 back.

Viking Steve
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

“like the other women not named Summer.” 🙂

Viking Steve
1 month ago

K8 was fire at this meet.

I don’t think she is credited enough in this analysis for the volume of her elite swims.

Only Mollie and Kaylee clearly had a bigger meet than K8.

Comparisons with 3-7 can be debated and she clearly should have been ranked above of Yufei.

I’m still waiting for K8 to get the proper respect she has earned.

Viking Steve
Reply to  Yanyan Li
1 month ago

I respect your opinion and appreciate your well thought out analysis.

But looking at things from another perspective:

You will see a similar to superior sprint Fly/Free performance from someone else at the WC or Olympics in the next 7 years.

Conversely, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY, that you will see a similar performance to K8 at this WC from someone other than K8 in your lifetime!

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

You shouldn’t get extra points for doing unconventional events. It is unlikely we will see another swimmer medal in the 50 back and 200 fly (let alone all 3 backs) any time soon, so does that mean that Smith should be above Douglass?

Viking Steve
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

I totally agree that Reagan got ‘Kaylee’d’ in this meet and should be applauded for her versatility.

But backstroke/butterfly overlap is pretty common in the era of underwaters…hens the wildly used term ‘butterback’ …

so yes, I very much think you will see someone else excelling at backstroke and butterfly at the WC/OLY level before you’ll see a 200 breast/100 free combo (much less doubling them in three separate sessions)

Again… all of these discussions are based on subjective criteria… I just think we should appreciate that we may not see this particular flavor of swimming again in a looooong time.

We haven’t even broached the subject of the 50 free and 100 fly for K8… Read more »

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

Can you tell me the last time someone medalled in the 50 back and 200 fly? I’m not aware of anyone in history but I could be wrong.

It basically sounds like you’re saying Douglass is automatically better than everyone else because she swims breast and free which is an uncommon combo.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

Alice Mills medaled in 50 free and 200 IM at 2003 world Championship if it means anything

jeff
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
1 month ago

m̶i̶c̶h̶a̶e̶l̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶r̶e̶w̶ ̶a̶l̶m̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶m̶e̶d̶a̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶o̶s̶e̶ ̶t̶w̶o̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Michael Andrew sad.

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  Viking Steve
1 month ago

Stop making the lady sound as if she were a kayaking event. Type her name in full.

Former swimmer.
1 month ago

The real question is does Cate approve of this list. Her opinion apparently matters or at least she thinks it does. 🐄 🛎️ 🇺🇸

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Former swimmer.
1 month ago

Swimmer, 4x Olympic champion and 13x world record holder is interviewed on TV.

You: “APPARENTLY SHE THINKS HER OPINION MATTERS”

It matters more than anyone in this comment section I can assure you

Admin
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
1 month ago

Again, I don’t know why everyone assumes that nobody in the comment section has any swimming credentials.

I can’t name any specific names because of privacy laws, but there are plenty of Olympians and Olympic medalists who comment on SwimSwam.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

I think you missed the point of this one, Braden. Regardless of who is in the comments section, anonymous commenters complaining that legends of the sport “think their opinion is relevant” is ridiculous. Can we at least agree on that?

The list of swimmers with more than 4 olympic golds and more than 13 world records is pretty slim so statistically it is extremely unlikely that anyone this comments section has those accolades, right?

Troyy
Reply to  Former swimmer.
1 month ago

These Americans giving her relevance with every seething obsessed comment.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Cate live rent-free in these Americans head.

Bill G
1 month ago

RE: Summer McIntosh’s non-medal winning relay swims didn’t get a mention. She had the second fastest flying start in the 4x200m free relay that secured a top 5 placing for Canadian team along with O’Croinin, Harvey, and Douthwright (who would have been longshots to be relay finals swimmers this time last year). This was the same night as her 200m fly gold.

She also swam lead-off in the 4×100 free relay on night one.

To rekindle the medal-table debate from the other day – these are point-making performances under an NCAA scoring format. Finally, per the SwimSwam article on prize money, she was estimated to be the 6th highest earner among female swimmers, fractionally ahead of Ledecky.

Sub13
Reply to  Bill G
1 month ago

Summer won two individual golds, an individual bronze and a relay bronze. Of the 6 women listed above her, all of them either won more/better medals and/or broke an individual WR.

Summer had a fantastic meet, the standard was just so high

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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