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, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the top women’s swimmer of the year 2020:
Question: Who was the world’s best female swimmer in 2020?
McKeown was one of just two women to set an individual world record in 2020. She went 1:58.94 to break the world 200 back record. But her resume was also stacked with high-level long course results, including a barrier-breaking 57.93 in the 100 back and 2:04.46 in the 200 back. Both sit #1 in the world for the season.
It appears voters might have been considering a different backstroker with their ‘someone else’ votes. Kira Toussaint set a world record in the 50 back twice in 2020, first going 25.60 in the ISL semifinals and then equaling that time at the Amsterdam Christmas meet a month later. Toussaint does sit second to McKeown in the long course 100 back and leads the world in the long course 50 back with a 27.37 this year. But she did finish well behind McKeown in the short course 100 back, and it seems likely that had McKeown competed in the ISL, she would have separated herself more from Toussaint in this poll.
Lilly King set no individual world records this year, but had a dominant win streak in the ISL. King won 34 consecutive races in the ISL without a loss. More than half (18) of those consecutive wins came in the year 2020. And even after dropping a couple of events late in the grueling ISL season, King won 36 of 39 races, including a league-high five skin races.
Regan Smith made our poll for her early-season brilliance. It feels like a million years ago, but it was only March (pre-COVID pandemic) when Smith was dominating the Pro Swim Series, going 58.26 in the 100 back in Knoxville, then 58.18 in Des Moines. Considering the world record was just 58.0 before Smith got ahold of it, those were incredibly dominant in-season swims, and had pretty much set Smith up to win the Pro Swim Series title unless someone else managed a world-record swim.
The only other world records in 2020 on the women’s side were a Dutch 4×50 free relay in short course meters (headed by a 23.0 leadoff from Ranomi Kromowidjojo) and a Cali Condors/USA short course 4×100 medley relay (featuring King on a 1:02.40 breaststroke leg).
Outside of Toussaint, voters may have been considering Katie Ledecky (still the world leader for 2020 with times of 1:54.5/3:59.6/8:16.2/15:29.2 in long course free), Beryl Gastaldello (third in ISL MVP scoring) or Sarah Sjostrom (fifth in ISL MVP scoring despite missing one meet) with their ‘someone else’ votes.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters whether Sun Yang will be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics or not:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner