UPDATE: We’re told by a source with knowledge of the scoring system that World Champs points will be accounted differently, causing Dressel to win this award instead of Peaty. You can read a fuller explanation here.
Each year, FINA announces its male and female Swimmers of the Year, and in 2015, the swimming federation announced a point-based system to determine winners. Since we at SwimSwam don’t like to wait until Christmas to unwrap our presents, we dug through the formula to come up with the presumptive winners, though two of the four point categories are still in flux.
The upshot is that Sarah Sjostrom appears set to run away with the title on the women’s side, while a tight men’s battle should go to Adam Peaty over Caeleb Dressel by virtue of Peaty’s two world record swims in the 50 breast.
First, a quick look at the point system:
FINA World Swimmer of the Year Points
Athletes earn points in four different categories: World Champs rankings, World Cup standings, world records and World Rankings. As far as we can tell, these points are accrued over the calendar year 2017, beginning in January 2017 and continuing on through at least the end of the 2017 World Cup. We’ve reached out for clarification from FINA on exact start and end dates for these points, but haven’t yet received a response.
|SWIMMING||Olympic Games & FINA World Championships (50m & 25m) (1)||FINA Swimming World Cup (2)||WR bonus
|World Rankings (4)|
Chart comes directly from FINA’s criteria page.
World Champs rankings:
FINA has a similar, but separate points system for determining the Swimmer of the Meet for its World Championship events. Swimmers earn 5 points for each individual gold medal, 3 for silver, 2 for bronze and 1 for fourth. Individual world records carry a 2-point bonus for each time the record is broken. So Peaty, who broke the 50 breast record in heats and semis, earned 4 world record points.
The top 12 swimmers from this year’s World Champs earn Swimmer of the Year points ranging from 180 (for the Swimmer of the Meet) to 25 (for the 12th-best finisher in Swimmer of the Meet points). This year’s winners were Sjostrom and Dressel. Here’s a look at our compiled list of the top 12 for both men and women:
World Champ Points
|8||Chad le Clos||60||5|
World Champ Points
World Cup Standings
The top 12 swimmers in World Cup points also earn bonuses toward Swimmer of the Year. The World Cup is still ongoing, but will wrap up in mid-November. Here’s the current standings with three meets to go:
World Cup Points
|1||Chad le Clos||120||311|
|5||Cameron van der Burgh||50||153|
World Cup Points
|8||Rikke Moller Pedersen||30||84|
|9||Maalke De Waard||25||57|
Every individual world record broken in both long course and short course earns a 75-point bonus. Here’s a tally of all the individual world records we dug up from the year 2017:
- Ippei Watanabe 200 breast LCM: 2:06.67, Kitajima Cup
- Adam Peaty 50 breast LCM: 26.10, Worlds heats
- Adam Peaty 50 breast LCM: 25.95, Worlds semifinals
- Sarah Sjostrom 50 free LCM: 23.67, Worlds semifinals
- Sarah Sjostrom 100 free LCM: 51.71, Worlds relay leadoff
- Sarah Sjostrom 50 free SCM: 23.10, Moscow World Cup
- Sarah Sjostrom 100 free SCM: 50.77, Moscow World Cup
- Sarah Sjostrom 100 free SCM: 50.58, Eindhoven World Cup
- Sarah Sjostrom 200 free SCM: 1:50.43, Eindhoven World Cup
- Lilly King 50 breast LCM: 29.40, Worlds final
- Lilly King 100 breast LCM: 1:04.13, Worlds final
- Kylie Masse 100 back LCM: 58.10, Worlds final
- Katinka Hosszu 100 IM SCM: 56.51, Berlin World Cup
- Mireia Belmonte 400 IM SCM: 4:18.94, Eindhoven World Cup
- Ranomi Kromowidjojo 50 free SCM: 22.93, Berlin World Cup
- Cate Campbell 100 free SCM: 50.25, Australian Championships
The top 5 swimmers in the world rankings in every individual event also earn points. This is a source of some confusion, though – we’ve asked FINA when the qualifying period for world rankings spots opens and closes, but haven’t yet received a response. At this point, it appears the 2017 Swimmer of the Year award is for the calendar year 2017, meaning the world rankings would cover all swims done in the year 2017. The award is announced on December 2. It’s possible the world ranks go through that day, or that they close on an unspecified earlier date. Or, it’s conceivable that FINA is using the 2016-2017 season as boundaries, meaning the qualifying period would be September 2016 – August 2017. We’ll update if we receive clarification from FINA.
One twist here: world records don’t receive world ranking points – essentially that means a world record earns that 75-point bonus, but not the 25 points for being (likely) the #1 time in the world for the year.
By our math, Sarah Sjostrom should run away with the women’s title on account of a whopping 6 world records: LCM 100 free, LCM 50 free, SCM 50 free (since broken), SCM 100 free (twice, since broken) and SCM 200 free. That alone accounts for 450 points. Sjostrom also earns 180 as Swimmer of the World Championships and is in line for 120 if she holds her lead on the World Cup tour.
She’s got 750 points without even factoring in world rankings. No one else has more than 300. Katinka Hosszu is next-closest with 295 plus world rankings points.
Things are much more interesting on the men’s side. Swimmer of the World Championships Caeleb Dressel takes a 40-point lead over Adam Peaty by virtue of Worlds overall finish. But Peaty earns 150 points in world records to push to a 290-180 lead.
Dressel does top the world ranks currently in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly, plus sits 4th in the 50 fly. That gives him 85 world rank points, with no short course meter points to speak of. Still, Peaty holds a 290-265 lead, and gets his own world rankings boost in the long course 100 breast. (His 50 breast doesn’t earn world ranking points as it nabbed the 75-point world record bonus). Peaty doesn’t currently have any short course top-5 world ranked swims, but should still win the award regardless.
The only way for Dressel to steal the award would be to jump into a short course meters pool and swim two world-leading times and another top-5 time prior to the end of the qualifying period – which, again, is still unclear.
Here’s a look at the rough leaderboard – remember that World Cup points are still likely to change over the final cluster, and that world ranking points can also change. However, the bulk of the points under this system (World Champs and world record points) are pretty much locked in at this point. We only included current world ranking points inasmuch as we needed them to more accurately project a close race on the men’s side. As neither Peaty nor Dressel should get any short course world rank points, we only included long course events. For the women, Sjostrom should win regardless of world rank points, so we didn’t factor those in for simplicity’s sake.
These numbers include long course meter world rankings in all events to compare Peaty & Dressel further.
|Name||TOTAL:||Worlds||World Cup*||WR||World Rankings**|
|Chad le Clos||205||60||120||25|
*World Cup points as of October 26
**Long course world ranking points only as of October 26
These numbers do not include any world ranking points, as the winner is already obvious without factoring them in.
*World Cup points as of October 26