SwimSwam Pulse: 51.2% Pick Chalmers As Most Likely Male To Reclaim Olympic Title In Paris

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 men’s event will see the Rio Olympic champion reclaim gold in Paris after falling short in Tokyo:

Question: Which 2016 gold medalist has the best chance to reclaim their Olympic title in Paris? (Men’s edition)

RESULTS

Kyle Chalmers has established himself as the favorite in the men’s 100 freestyle heading into the Olympic year, so much so that readers are giving him a better chance of winning gold than Ryan Murphy in either backstroke event.

After roaring to a surprise Olympic victory in 2016 shortly after turning 18, Chalmers was the runner-up to Caeleb Dressel in the 100 free at both the 2019 World Championships and Tokyo Olympics by a combined 18 one-hundredths of a second.

Sitting out of the event last year, Chalmers watched teenage sensation David Popovici claim gold at the 2022 World Championships, and two months later the Romanian stunned the world with a new world record of 46.86.

Chalmers came through in the clutch at the 2023 World Championships, however, securing gold in a time of 47.15, with Popovici falling to sixth in 47.83. Dressel, building himself back up after an extended layoff, missed the U.S. World Championship team this year.

There are several other contenders, including China’s Pan Zhanle, American Jack Alexy and Frenchman Maxime Grousset, but the fact that Chalmers emerged atop our latest poll by a wide margin tells you just who the big favorite is.

There are only a handful of Rio gold medalists who either haven’t retired or are still active but didn’t win in Tokyo, and on the men’s side it’s Chalmers in the 100 free, Murphy in both the 100 and 200 back, and Gregorio Paltrinieri in the 1500 free.

Chalmers earned more than half of the vote in the poll asking readers who the most likely to reclaim Olympic gold was at 51.2%, while Murphy—who likely won’t have to face either of the men who beat him head-to-head in Tokyo, Russians Evgeny Rylov and Kliment Kolesnikov—trailed, getting a near-combined 40 percent of votes split across the two events.

Like Chalmers, Murphy is the reigning world champion in the 100 back, though he’s got a stacked field to contend with, including the likes of world record holder and 2022 world champion Thomas Ceccon, American teammate Hunter Armstrong and China’s Xu Jiayu.

In the 200 back, Murphy won the 2022 world title going away, but was upended by Hungarian Hubert Kos in Fukuoka.

Given that, it checks out that Murphy received slightly more votes in the 100 back (20.2%) than he did in the 200 (19.6%), though even combined he was more than 11% back of Chalmers.

Paltrinieri trailed with just nine percent of votes. The Italian dominated the 1500 free at the 2022 World Championships, winning by nearly four seconds with what was the second-fastest swim ever at the time (14:32.80), but after withdrawing from the event in Fukuoka due to fatigue, he looked on as Ahmed Hafnaoui (14:31.54) and Bobby Finke (14:31.59) swam the #2 and #3 times in history.

Despite owning three of the six fastest performances of all-time, Paltrinieri faces a tall task in Paris, as four men were sub-14:35 in 2023 and his fastest swim came in at 14:41.38.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which female swimmer is most likely to reclaim the Rio Olympic title they lost in Tokyo:

Which 2016 gold medalist has the best chance to reclaim their Olympic title in Paris? (Women's edition)

View Results

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ABOUT A3 PERFORMANCE

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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Hank
5 months ago

Chalmers still hasn’t joined the sub 47 club which currently consists of Popovici, Dressel, and Zhanle all active swimmers. Hard to see him walking away from that field with gold if any of these guys are in form and execute their race.

Swimz
5 months ago

None of Above..at least King has a little chance. A VERY LITTLE..in the women category

Last edited 5 months ago by Swimz
Brochowski
5 months ago

King Kyle is a boss.

Luigi
5 months ago

I agree that he is the most likely, but in absolute terms winning the 100 free Olympic race at the age of 26 is statistically unlikely. I believe only PVDH did it in the modern era (Duke Kahanamoku did it at 30 back in the 20s).

Torchbearer
Reply to  Luigi
5 months ago

Swimmers are staying in the sport longer now….Cam McEvoy is 29 and World Champ in the 50m….

Last edited 5 months ago by Torchbearer
Luigi
Reply to  Torchbearer
5 months ago

The 50s are a different beast. Swimming history is full of top 50/100 freestylers who narrow it down to the 50s in their late years and consider themselves lucky to squeeze into the 4×100 free relay.

Owlmando
Reply to  Luigi
5 months ago

Kismet, we are in the 20s again! History fated to repeat itself!!

Marc P
5 months ago

A bizarre options.

None of the women in the options will retain their title.

frug
Reply to  Marc P
5 months ago

To be fair there weren’t really any other better options. Ledecky in the 400 fr is only other possibility, and I assume that was deemed too obvious.

jeff
Reply to  frug
5 months ago

honestly that’s a big one missing and I don’t think it’s much more likely than King winning the 100

frug
Reply to  jeff
5 months ago

I think King might actually have a better shot at gold than Ledecky. I was just trying to figure out why they would have left off Ledecky in 400.

Sub13
5 months ago

I don’t think any will but my vote is King. Her time from this year could be good enough for gold. None of the others have been anywhere near in quite a while

M d e
Reply to  Sub13
5 months ago

King isn’t even the most likely former gold medalist to reclaim the 100 brst.

Last edited 5 months ago by M d e
Swimz
Reply to  Sub13
5 months ago

King knows how to end up as the 4th..jacoby has the chance over king..king fail to medal at Budapest and fukuoka..jacoby won at tokyo and got bronze at fukuoka..

Sub13
Reply to  Swimz
5 months ago

As I said, I don’t think she’s going to win. But she’s the only one on the list that seems to have a realistic chance

Steve Nolan
5 months ago

I feel like the chance none of them are even entered in those events is more likely than any of them winning them.

snailSpace
Reply to  Steve Nolan
5 months ago

Lol yes.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
5 months ago

some bizarre options in the women’s poll. all the men’s options were world champions in the last 2 years
(sun and horton were excluded), so they’re all somewhat feasible. however this one has every
active olympic champion from 2016, regardless of their recent form.

along with the options that other people have scrutinised, it’s particularly baffling that ledecky’s 200 free was picked, when she’s dropped that event. she still swims the 400 and a medal is still in reach, but that event’s not an option for some reason.

if this poll was extended to 2012, then ruta could have been included. she’s far more likely to win than anyone here.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
5 months ago

I don’t think Ruta’s that much more of a favorite over King.

Marc P
Reply to  Steve Nolan
5 months ago

Ruta won 100 m breast in Fukuoka just a few months ago (in addition to 50 gold and WR). King didn’t even medal in 100.

M d e
Reply to  Steve Nolan
5 months ago

She definitely is, but I think Chikunova sweeps the brst if she’s allowed to compete.

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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