SwimSwam Pulse: 50.6% Pick Phelps To Be Cover Athlete of “Swimming 2024” Video Game

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 swimmer should be the cover athlete if the sport were to release a video game in 2024:

Question: Who should be the cover athlete of the first-ever swimming video game (hypothetical 2024 release)


Major sports like football, basketball, baseball and hockey annually release a new version of their flagship video game with a new cover athlete, so as a fun exercise, we thought it would be interesting to see who readers believe should grace the cover if swimming were to release a video game in 2024.

Now, it should be addressed that the question was phrased as the “first-ever” swimming video game, which isn’t technically true, as Michael Phelps: Push The Limit was released in 2011 (exclusively on XBOX 360) with Phelps obviously on the cover.

And it’s clear that readers still believe that Phelps should be the cover athlete of a new swimming video game if there were to be one, as more than 50 percent of voters opted for the GOAT in the poll.

To be fair, any edition of a swimming video game would likely have a Legends or Legacy edition where someone like Phelps would be on the cover, but the poll was intended more to get a gauge on this generation’s athletes and who fans think would be the most fitting for a hypothetical cover. (Phelps had to be included given his status, and it’s obvious he’s still #1 by a mile.)

Trailing Phelps with 16.6 percent of votes was Katie Ledecky, which comes as no surprise as she’s likely the most well-known current swimmer in the mainstream, given her unprecedented dominance in the women’s distance events for more than a decade.

Leon Marchand was close behind with 14.3 percent of votes on the heels of his triple gold medal performance at the 2023 World Championships, highlighted by his world record swim in the 400 IM, where he demolished Phelps’ 15-year-old mark by well over a second.

Caeleb Dressel, the biggest male star in the U.S. despite his absence from this year’s Worlds, and Summer McIntosh, the Canadian teenager who is the best all-around female swimmer in the world, were the other two swimmers to pick up a good chunk of votes.

If we take Phelps out of the mix and look at current swimmers, Ledecky, Marchand and McIntosh check out as the top candidates, given they were all successful at the World Championships and have become well-known worldwide.

For Dressel, he would likely be the top candidate to garner the cover of a hypothetical video game that was released after the Tokyo Olympic Games, given his performance there, but his absence at the 2023 Worlds makes him a hard sell here. However, his marketability in the lead-up to Paris would still put him in the mix for a 2024 game.

Below, find a list of the number of Instagram followers each of the current athletes included in the poll has, getting a rough gauge of their popularity. We find that Dressel leads the pack, followed closely by Ledecky, while David Popovici is actually the top non-American by a wide margin.

Instagram Followers

Michael Phelps has 3.4 million

  • Dressel – 641K
  • Ledecky – 594K
  • Popovici – 318K
  • Marchand – 158K
  • Titmus – 154K
  • McIntosh – 92K
  • Milak – 83K

Popovici earned 1.8 percent of votes in the poll, which surely would’ve surely been higher had he been on better form in Fukuoka, while Ariarne Titmus (1.9%) and Kristof Milak (0.6%) were also featured in the poll. Milak notably withdrew from the World Championships this year, while Titmus won two golds, including an individual world record in the women’s 400 free, and walked away with four total medals.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which NCAA program will hurt the most from some significant departures this season:

Which NCAA team will suffer the most in 23-24 from the following loss(es)?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

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

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27 days ago

Yeah. I’m trying to figure out how a swimming video game would work. Maybe have like a college coach mode, where you offer scholarships and build a team. But I don’t think enough people would be obsessed about it. I mean you could do Olympic mode. You could pick one swimmer, build your own, and train them. But I don’t really think anyone wants to do that lol

Fukuoka Gold
27 days ago

Relay name guy approved the next poll!

Hooked on Chlorine
28 days ago

Phelps is undoubtedly the greatest swimmer who’s ever lived, but seeing that the year 2024 also appears on the cover, a swimmer who’s competing now and in 2024 ought to get the gig. Katie Ledecky would be a fine choice. Either her or Lia Thomas.

28 days ago

tf would you do in a swimming video game though

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  kekclubber
28 days ago

Whack competing swimmers over the head with a cow bell so they can’t swim or stay in their designated lane.

28 days ago

You should do this poll again after Paris but without Phelps as an option (only active swimmers). I suspect Marchand will win in a landslide.

Ultimately a swimming video game isn’t going to sell well. All traditional Olympic sports are too specialised to justify an entire game to themselves. Imagine a game that was just pole vault or long jump or diving. For a game to be based off just one sport it needs to be directly competitive (like soccer or basketball) where you feed off and react to your opponent. But something that includes a number of sports like “Mario and Sonic at the Olympics” has lots of potential (I believe those games sell really well) and you could… Read more »

Jalen T
28 days ago

Phelps is a horrible representation of swimming not just because of his past issues but after retiring, he doesn’t really care about swimming or swimmers in general. Unless it revolves around him hence why he went to Japan for Worlds and praising Leon.

Reply to  Jalen T
28 days ago

Please stop commenting

Let It Be
Reply to  Jalen T
28 days ago

True. When is the last time Phelps did a SwimSwam interview? He’ll happily talk to ESPN or Time magazine, though.

28 days ago

If you wanted anyone other than swimswam readers to buy a copy, it has to be Phelps every year.

Usain Bolt would likewise be the only RanRun video game cover athlete ever.

kev geh
28 days ago

Aint nobody playing that😭😭😭😭

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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