SwimSwam Pulse: 55.9% Think Wellbrock Should Be Favored In Men’s 1500 Free At Worlds

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 who they believe the frontrunner should be in the men’s 1500 free this summer in Fukuoka:

Question: If you were an oddsmaker, who would you make the favorite in the men’s 1500 free at the 2023 World Championships?


There is no shortage of legitimate title challengers in the men’s 1500 freestyle at this summer’s World Championships.

When Bobby Finke won three consecutive major international finals in the distance events, sweeping the men’s 800 and 1500 free at the Tokyo Olympics and then claiming gold in the 800 free at the 2022 World Championships, he appeared to be seemingly unbeatable with his unmatched closing ability.

However, Gregorio Paltrinieri delivered a monster performance on the final day of competition in Budapest in the 1500 free, winning the world title in the second-fastest time ever, 14:32.80, to top runner-up Finke by nearly four seconds.

As we entered 2023, those two were the clear frontrunners in the event for the World Championships in Fukuoka, but things have been shaken up in recent weeks.

First, we saw Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen drop nearly 15 seconds off his personal best time at the Swim Open Stockholm, becoming the fourth-fastest man in history and #2 among active swimmers in 14:34.91.

It was just one week later that Florian Wellbrock, the 2019 world champion and bronze medalist at both the Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Worlds, one-upped Wiffen with a 14:34.89 swim at the Berlin Open, claiming the #4 spot in the historical rankings.

On top of that, we can’t forget about Ukrainian Mykhailo Romanchuk, the reigning Olympic silver medalist who upset Paltrinieri to win the European title last summer on Paltrinieri’s home turf. Romanchuk also went 14:40.21 racing alongside Wiffen in Stockholm, a time that would normally be regarded as a sizzling in-season swim if it wasn’t for what Wellbrock and Wiffen.

2022-2023 LCM Men 1500 Free

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With so many swimmers in contention for gold in Fukuoka, we asked SwimSwam readers who they would make the favorite if they were the oddsmakers, and the majority went with Wellbrock, the current world #1.

The 25-year-old German has shown an impressive level of consistency over the last five years, making trips to the podium in every major international meet he’s contested since 2018, and he also now has five swims sub-14:37, a feat only matched by Paltrinieri.

Romanchuk has two sub-14:37 swims on his resume, while Wiffen and Finke have one apiece.

Swimmer Personal Best Time Fifth-Fastest Time 2022-23 Season Best
Paltrinieri 14:32.80 14:35.85 14:49.02
Wellbrock 14:34.89 14:36.94 14:34.89
Wiffen 14:34.91 15:02.78 14:34.91
Romanchuk 14:36.10 14:39.89 14:40.21
Finke 14:36.70 14:47.20 15:02.54

Trailing Wellbrock, Paltrinieri and Finke both secured their fair share of votes as the reigning world and Olympic champions, while Wiffen also came in at nearly 12 percent after his breakout showing in April.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: If there was one, who should a men’s sprint freestyle swimmer of the year award be named after?

If swimming had annual awards for the best swimmer in every stroke, who would you name the men's sprint free award after?

View Results

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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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Tracy S
29 days ago

Alexander Popov 100%

29 days ago

Honestly I think Wiffen deserves far more credit.

30 days ago

It’s a bit surprising to have such a clear favorite in this poll.

Reply to  FST
29 days ago

I agree. I thought more would consider Paltrinieri after having the second fastest swim ever last year (fastest for anyone who hasn’t had a positive test). He was not sharp in Tokyo but dealt with sickness very close to the games. The only point against him is that he doesn’t have a closing kick, so anyone within a second (or 2.5 for Finke) will run him down.

Reply to  FST
29 days ago

Yea that’s what I thought. Wellbrock comes out as the overwhelming favourite which I just don’t think is right considering the field is so strong at the moment

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Sub13
29 days ago

It certainly doesn’t match what the betting odds would be. Nobody would be an odds-on favorite. I doubt the favorite would be stronger than 8/5 (+160).

30 days ago

I’ve seen others mention similar problems, so I will. I think SwimSwam staff appreciate it.

I’ve got a massive PC Richard & Son advertisement on my mobile devise that makes reading the article practically impossible.

Reply to  RealSlimThomas
30 days ago

Better than the time a few years ago when a commenter complained about Ashley Madison ads on this family friendly swimswam website and Braden had to explain that a third party ad service uses his cookies and browsing profile to send personally targeted ads

Reply to  Pineapple
30 days ago

I got a Panchero’s ad. Thankfully no XL pc RICHARD ads

Reply to  Pineapple
30 days ago

I love when that happens. It happens pretty regularly. There was one guy who liked to regularly crap on us on Facebook, and one time he did it with a screenshot that showed his ads, and, well…you can imagine how the rest went.

Reply to  Pineapple
30 days ago

Dang, so there aren’t hot single 70+ year old women near me?

Reply to  Pineapple
29 days ago

I keep getting ads for ugly cargo shorts so I find your implication offensive lol

Reply to  Pineapple
29 days ago

Why was I not privy to this crucial part of SwimSwam lore until now?

Reply to  RealSlimThomas
30 days ago

Thanks, appreciate that. I’ve reported to our programmatic ads company to deal with. If you see it again, would you mind hitting the report button? That allows us to pinpoint it a little better. Thank you!

Reply to  Braden Keith
30 days ago

Been waiting a while for the right place to ask this but how often should I be getting a ‘would you like to receive notifications on latest updates’ prompt? I get it seemingly every day on mobile, not sure about desktop

Steve Nolan
Reply to  iLikePsych
29 days ago

I haven’t not gotten it on mobile anytime I’ve gone to the site in what feels like years.

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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