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)
- Michael Phelps – 50.6%
- Katie Ledecky – 16.6%
- Leon Marchand – 14.3%
- Caeleb Dressel – 7.0%
- Summer McIntosh – 5.1%
- Ariarne Titmus – 1.9%
- David Popovici – 1.8%
- Kristof Milak – 0.6%
- Other – 2.0
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.
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 Poll, which asks: Which NCAA program will hurt the most from some significant departures this season:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.