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 most likely U.S. Olympian in the 100 back, not including world record-holder Regan Smith:
Question: Who is more likely to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the 100 back?
44.4% of voters said Kathleen Baker was the most likely non-Regan Smith backstroker to make next summer’s Olympic team in the 100 back.
In overall context, that’s actually a fairly low figure for someone just a year removed from setting the world record in this event. Baker went 58.00 last summer and was the breakout star of U.S. Nationals with wins in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM.
A rib injury cut in on her training this season, and Baker was a ways off her mark with a season-best of 59.03.
Olivia Smoliga was second in this poll. She’s also the fastest U.S. performer this year behind Smith at 58.73. There’s a pretty significant dropoff from Smoliga (38.3%) to the two junior swimmers in our poll (12.3% and 5.0%), indicating that fans are still more bullish on the tested veterans (and 2016 Olympians) than the rising youngsters not named Smith.
Pan Ams champ Phoebe Bacon (a lifetime-best 59.02 this year at age 16) finished third in our poll, with World University Games champ Katharine Berkoff (lifetime-best 59.29 this year at age 18) fourth.
Our poll only included the top four in the World ranks this year, stopping with the next swimmer, now-retired Elise Haan. But also under a minute this season were Amy Bilquist (59.64) and Isabelle Stadden (59.69), though Stadden might be more of a threat in the 200 back, where she’s ranked 6th this season among Americans, but only a half second out of second.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters who is the most likely candidate to be the top American male breaststroker by next summer’s Olympics:
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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner