SwimSwam Pulse: 40.9% Think Claire Curzan’s Stock Rose Most At 2024 Worlds

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 who gained the most momentum in Doha:

Question: Which swimmer’s stock has risen the most at the 2024 World Championships?

RESULTS

While many top swimmers opted to sit out of the 2024 World Championships to not disrupt their Olympic preparation, others used the uniquely timed meet as a springboard to set themselves up for a run at Paris.

Looking solely at the women’s competition, nine of the 13 individual gold medalists won their first LC world title in Doha, while several others made their way to the podium for the first time.

Although all of those newly minted world champions picked up some steam and confidence heading into the run-up to the Olympics, the swimmer who stood above the rest was Claire Curzan.

Curzan failed to qualify for the U.S. World Championship team in 2023, having fallen ill shortly before the selection meet, and made a major change shortly thereafter when she opted to move on from Stanford and join the elite training environment at the University of Virginia.

Curzan had some promising swims in the back half of 2023 after joining UVA, but her newfound form came to the forefront in Doha.

The 19-year-old became the third swimmer in history to successfully sweep the 50, 100 and 200-meter distances of a single stroke at the World Championships, rocketing to a trio of best times in the backstroke events while adding a fourth gold on the U.S. mixed medley relay. She also won individual silver in the 100 fly and bronze in the mixed 400 free relay, breaking her medal tally up to six despite no opportunity to race in a female relay.

Curzan’s Doha Finals Performances:

  • Gold, 50 back – 27.43 (PB)
  • Gold, 100 back – 58.29 (PB)
  • Gold, 200 back – 2:05.77 (PB)
  • Gold, Mixed 400 Medley Relay – 56.54 fly split
  • Silver, 100 fly – 56.61
  • Bronze, Mixed 400 Free Relay – 53.82 split

In our latest poll asking readers whose stock rose the most in Doha (among a select group of female swimmers), Curzan came out on top at 40.9%.

The path to a berth on the U.S. team is still treacherous, but Curzan is now in a great position to crack the Olympic roster for a second time and if she does, especially if it’s in a backstroke race, an individual medal will be well within reach.

Finishing with the second-most votes in the poll was Angelina Köhler, who beat Curzan for gold in the 100 fly in a time of 56.28 after firing off a German Record of 56.11 in the semi-finals.

That time from the semis was faster than what Zhang Yufei went to win the world title in 2023 (56.12), catapulting Köhler into the medal conversation in Paris.

Receiving the third-most votes was China’s Tang Qianting, who emerged with the world title in the women’s 100 breast in a time of 1:05.27, which would’ve claimed silver comfortably in Fukuoka behind only the dominant Ruta Meilutyte, who was also in the field in Doha but finished 17th.

Tang also gave Meilutyte a scare in the 50 breast, winning silver in an Asian Record of 29.51, just shy of Meilutyte’s 29.40.

Also receiving a good chunk of votes was New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather, who won a trio of medals in the freestyle events, including gold and another sub-4:00 swim in the 400 free (3:59.44). Fairweather also earned silver in the 200 free and bronze in the 800 free.

Also featured in the poll was Australian youngster Iona Anderson, who may not have won individual gold but certainly put her name on the map after earning a pair of silvers behind Curzan in the 50 and 100 back. In the 50 back, the 18-year-old Anderson was only .02 shy of Curzan in 27.45, while in the 100 back she clocked 59.12.

Anderson also led off the Australian women’s medley relay in 59.20 as they ultimately won gold after a close battle with Sweden and Canada.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which event should Gretchen Walsh swim on Day 3 at NCAAs?

Which event should Gretchen Walsh swim at NCAAs?

View Results

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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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Leoyu
1 month ago

Again the American bias in these polls is too obvious. Curzan had a good meet but for purposes of rising her stock (for the Olympics), effectively nothing has changed. If she does make the team, a minor medal is well within reach but she still isn’t favored in any of those events for the 2nd spot.

Fairweather’s stock is also unchanged, but I still think there’s a decent chance she’ll take down one of the top 3.

Kohler has a very good medal chance, her time was better than Macneil or Huske has swum recently. Tang has almost as good of a chance for gold as Meilutyte, esp considering how young she is and how good her start… Read more »

Pan Fan
Reply to  Leoyu
1 month ago

This is what I was thinking!

Andy
1 month ago

It was the usual American bias because as YanYan mentioned on the world champs debrief podcast, her stocks haven’t changed at all despite winning 3 individual world champs. It was a terrific job to rise to the occasion on the big stage but the times weren’t shattering anyone’s perceptions of what she should be swimming. I think it would have been different had she dropped a 57 or 2:04 time

At the end of the day, Kohler and Tang are now favourites to become Olympic medalists (potentially even gold if they continue their race or improvement) while Curzan isn’t even a favourite to qualify at US trials given the depth of competition.

Facts
Reply to  Andy
1 month ago

Curzan prob is a favorite to qualify in at least one event being she’s top 3-4 in 3 events and the odds are she’ll hit in at least one. Right now I’d say she’s the slight favorite for the 2nd 200 back spot, and in the hunt for the 2nd spot for her other 2 events

Pan Fan
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

But even if she qualifies, she is in play for gold or even silver. Hence, her stock rise is minimal.

Pan Fan
Reply to  Pan Fan
1 month ago

She is not in play…

Facts
Reply to  Pan Fan
1 month ago

I’m not saying she is in play for a gold all I said was she’s prob favored to make the team given she has 3 solid chances. Also never said anything about her stock rising

Sub13
1 month ago

I voted for Kohler but would have voted for Schouten if she had been an option.

Curzan was always “might make the team but no gold potential” before the meet and she’s still that

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Largely agree. In all honesty, the bracket of names provided was curious to say the least. Whilst Anderson had an excellent meet; she was not a Paris medal contender going into Doha and this has not changed. Ditto Fairweather in W400FR.

The 2 female swimmers who’s stocks rose most to me ……….. and were overlooked for this list were Schouten & Steenbergen. Both were outside shots/minor medal contenders but are now legitimate gold medal players in 200BRS/100FR respectively.

Joel
1 month ago

Curzan? Any of the other 4’s stocks rose more than Curzan’s. Happy for all 5 of them though.

Facts
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Agreed. Curzan had a great meet but did her stock really rise a lot. Before the meet most prob had her as a major contender for the second 100 fly/100 back/200 back spot and after the meet that opinion hasn’t changed for me. Her stock rising would be challenging Regan Smith/Torri Huske for the top spot in those events which I’m not sure just yet

usaswimerror
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

What is Smith’s status regarding mono? How severe was/is it? Is she back to full on training? A severe mono case can take months. The answers to these questions will say much about Claire’s Olympic chances.

jeff
1 month ago

100 fly is the only one she can’t do on a relay

Facts
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Lead off the 400 free relay swimming fly

Apathetic
Reply to  Facts
1 month ago

THIS is the hypothetical we need. Does UVA win the 4×100 free with Gretchen swimming fly? I think yes. They were 3.5 seconds clear of a loaded Stanford team last year. Add a second for whoever is replacing Kate Douglass on the lead off (46.3 last year, though Nocentini has been under 47 already) and add about two seconds for Gretchen (45.8 last years) and I think that’s still a winning relay. We’ve seen a handful of 3:10s this season, but I think this puts UVA in 3:08 territory.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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