Smith & Murphy Lead PSS As 16 of Top 20 Swims of Season Come In Des Moines


It’s a backstroker’s world; we just live in it.

Backstrokers Ryan Murphy and Regan Smith lead the 2020 Pro Swim Series as the Des Moines stop produced 16 of the top 20 swims of the Pro Swim Series season in FINA points.

Smith already led the series by a pretty-much-insurmountable margin. In fact, after her 986-point 100 back swim in Knoxville, we did some fun math to project just how improbable it would be that anyone could beat that swim over the rest of the tour. Des Moines proved us right, as even a 15:29 mile from Katie Ledecky and a 4:32 IM from Melanie Margalis didn’t even come close to unseating Smith for the series lead.

Smith’s point value actually did fall, though: to herself. Smith went 58.18 in the 100 back, upping her series-leading swim to 990 FINA points.

On the men’s side, we’ve seen shakeups in the series leader with every stop. Murphy went 52.79 in the 100 back to move to #1, and the five fastest swims of the series so far took place in Des Moines. Murphy’s 947-point backstroke leads – that’s exactly how many FINA points it took to win the series in 2019.

The winners will take home the $10,000 series title.

For comparison: it took a 947-point swim to win the men’s title last year and a 968-point swim to win the women’s.


Note: we’re using the 2019 FINA Power Points tables (here and here) – USA Swimming has confirmed that it will use 2019 power points for the whole series to maintain consistency, rather than switching to the 2020 points midway through the series.


Rank Athlete FINA Points Time Event Meet
1 Regan Smith 990 58.18 100 Back Des Moines
2 Regan Smith 986 58.27 100 Back Knoxville
3 Katie Ledecky 971 15:29.51 1500 Free Des Moines
3 Kathleen Baker 971 58.56 100 Back Des Moines
5 Katie Ledecky 960 3:59.66 400 Free Des Moines
6 Katie Ledecky 958 1:54.59 200 Free Des Moines
7 Phoebe Bacon 956 58.86 100 Back Knoxville
8 Regan Smith 955 2:05.94 200 Back Knoxville
9 Regan Smith 950 2:06.16 200 Back Des Moines
10 Annie Lazor 946 2:21.67 200 Breast Des Moines


Rank Athlete FINA Points Time Event Meet
1 Ryan Murphy 947 52.79 100 Back Des Moines
2 Caeleb Dressel 936 50.92 100 Fly Des Moines
3 Michael Andrew 929 1:56.83 200 IM Des Moines
4 Nic Fink 927 2:09.87 200 Breast Des Moines
5 Caeleb Dressel 918 21.51 50 Free Des Moines
6 Will Licon 917 2:10.34 200 Breast Knoxville
7 Ryan Murphy 916 1:55.22 200 Back Des Moines
8 Michael Andrew 914 51.33 100 Fly Des Moines
9 Jacob Heidtmann 901 4:12.40 400 IM Des Moines
10 Michael Andrew 900 59.14 100 Breast Des Moines

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1 year ago

Is there a men and a women’s prize or only 1?

Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 year ago

does the prize go to second place if she stays amateur. I forgot what you guys do it this situation

Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 year ago

Except that Regan Smith doesn’t get any of it, I don’t think. I think it’s a dumb rule making this artificial amateur/pro distinction. I can see having a rule for younger swimmers, say, under 21, but even there I would award them money but require it to be put in some kind of trust until they turn 21.

Reply to  T W
1 year ago

Athletes can accept prize money up to covering the actual costs of their training and competition for the year.

While I think it’s improbable that she’ll get to keep all of her PSS money, she will be able to take a big chunk of it.

1 year ago

I Kinda feel bad for MA on this list. He had a spectacular 100 breast and 200 im but since the WR in both are so untouchable (no one besides phelps and lochte under 1:55 in the 2 IM and no one being under 58, let alone 57, in the 100 breast besides peaty), he doesnt rank that high based on fina points.

1 year ago

For this to be fair, FINA points would have to be calculated from something other than the world records. Maybe an average of the top 10 times in the world last year?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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