SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which head-to-head battle they were looking forward to the most at the U.S. Open:
Question: Which matchup are you most excited for at the U.S. Open?
- Douglass/Walsh (+McIntosh) – 21.9%
- Hafnaoui/Finke – 21.4%
- Ledecky/McIntosh – 21.0%
- Men’s sprint field (ft. Dressel) – 16.7%
- Marchand/Foster (+Kalisz) – 6.3%
- Murphy/Kos/Armstrong – 5.8%
- Smith/Berkoff/Curzan + – 4.9%
- Other – 2.0%
There was no shortage of big-time matchups on the docket when the psych sheets for the U.S. Open were released last week, with plenty of hype surrounding the competition with some of the biggest names in the sport on the entry list.
This led to differing opinions on what the most exciting matchup of the meet was, which was on display in our latest poll which saw three options finish within one percent of each other at the top.
Leading the way was the women’s 200 IM, which on paper was to feature Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh, the gold and silver medalists from the 2023 World Championships, and Summer McIntosh, the fastest swimmer in the world this year (2023 calendar year).
As it turns out, that three-way battle didn’t materialize as McIntosh opted for the 400 free instead on Thursday, but we were treated to an excellent showdown between Douglass and Walsh, as the former UVA teammates went 1-2 with Douglass securing the win in 2:08.46.
Douglass turned eighth at the 100-meter wall and rocketed into the lead on the breaststroke leg, while Walsh was right at the front of the race the whole time, along with free/fly sprinter Torri Huske.
Douglass set a new Championship Record in 2:08.46, with Walsh (2:08.96) and Huske (2:09.10). It was a three-way rematch of sorts from the 2023 NCAA Championships, where Douglass won the national title in an all-time record with Huske edging out Walsh for the runner-up spot.
Finishing a close second in the poll was the impending battle between Ahmed Hafnaoui and Bobby Finke in the men’s distance free events, especially after we saw them go toe-to-toe at the World Championships.
However, Hafnaoui dropped out of the meet due to illness, and Finke is clearly in the midst of heavy training after only placing fourth in the 800 free on Wednesday.
Third in the poll was the matchup between McIntosh and Katie Ledecky, which came to fruition on Thursday night.
McIntosh ran away with the victory in the women’s 400 free in a time of 3:59.42, breaking Ledecky’s meet record (3:59.71) while beating the American legend by nearly three seconds.
The loaded men’s sprint field was the only other option that earned more than 10 percent of the vote, picking up 16.7 percent with a number of elite names in the mix including Caeleb Dressel.
Dressel missed the ‘A’ final of the 50 free on Thursday, but did have a promising 21.99 showing last night in the consolation final, with Michael Andrew (21.80) edging out Josh Liendo (21.90) for the overall victory.
Among the races still to come, tonight’s final of the women’s 100 back figures to be a good one with Regan Smith and Katharine Berkoff breaking 59 seconds in the prelims and Claire Curzan and Olivia Smoliga also going sub-1:00.
The men’s 100 fly also should be hotly contested with the top six qualifiers out of the prelims all within two-tenths of one another, with Liendo (51.71) leading the pack and Dressel (51.83) coming in ranked third.
We also can’t overlook the women’s 100 fly, with Curzan, Gretchen Walsh and Huske poised for a showdown.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Which NCAA freshman has been the most impressive so far this season?
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.