SwimSwam Pulse: 56% Most Excited For Olympics, But 34% Pick U.S. Trials

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 first poll of the 2016 calendar year asked readers to cast their vote for the most anticipated competition of the coming year.


Which are you looking forward to more in 2016?

  • Olympic Games – 56.7%
  • U.S. Olympic Trials – 34.1%
  • Men’s NCAA Championships – 7.5%
  • Women’s NCAA Championships – 1.7%

Unsurprisingly, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro far outpaced the competition as the year’s most anticipated meet. In a way, it feels as though Rio has been the most anticipated meet since at least 2013, especially with 2014 splitting the top athletes between Pan Pacs, Commonwealth Games and European Championships, and then 2015 seeing a huge number of big names withdraw from Worlds for injuries (Kosuke Hagino, James Magnussen, Yannick Agnel, Therese Alshammar) or other issues (Michael Phelps, Park Tae-hwan).

The Olympic Games drew just over 500 of the 908 votes cast in this poll.

Hyperbole often says that the U.S. Olympic Trials are more competitive than the Olympics themselves, at least from a depth perspective, and that idea was reflected in the 34% of voters who pegged the U.S. Trials as their most anticipated meet. That’s a pretty impressive number for Trials to draw in an Olympic year, especially considering that U.S. Trials shouldn’t draw as much attention from SwimSwam’s large international audience.

The numbers for the NCAA Championships aren’t high, but like U.S. Trials, are probably higher than expected. That speaks to just how popular college athletics are in the United States.

It’s probably fair to say that the absence of Team USA’s top two female swimmers is a big factor in why the women’s NCAAs rated so much lower than men’s. With Missy Franklin turning pro and Katie Ledecky deferring her enrollment, the star power at women’s NCAAs is significantly lower. Compounding matters is Simone Manuel‘s decision to redshirt the college season. Women’s NCAAs garnered just 15 votes in this poll, as compared to 6 for the men’s meet.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich compares two of the top junior swims in American history:

Which swim is more impressive:

View Results

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Which swim is more impressive:

  • Katie Ledecky‘s 8:06 in the 800 free at age 18 (2016)
  • Mary T. Meagher’s 2:05 in the 200 fly at age 16 (1981)

A3 Performance, Legend

About A3 Performance

A3 Performance was founded in 2004 and is based in Wisconsin. A3 Performance was founded on the ideals that great products could be made and offered at great prices. Innovation and purpose is the focus of all product development. The swimmer is the focus of everything we do.

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

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Jim O
7 years ago

If you had offerred fans front row seats to either the Trials or the Olympics, I think the Olympics would have won by a much larger margin. I consider a vote faor the Trials to mean that a fan is not looking passed the Trials to the Olympics.

7 years ago

The us olympic trials will prob be faster than the olympics…and it will prob be a better enviroment also…

Reply to  FlSwim
7 years ago

Yeah right, and we are living in the 80s.. I think it is much past due age this kind of thought…

Reply to  FlSwim
7 years ago

I don’t get this thought process – When you look at World Rankings. Ledecky is far out alone. But the rest? Sjostrom, Meilutyte, Campbell x2, Seebohm, Hosszu, Efimova, Pedersen, Watanabe… They cover every event other than distance free, and are ‘better’ than the top Americans. Peaty, Koch, Larkin, Le Clos, Cseh, Hagino, Seto, Yang, Guy, Paltrinieri… I’ve missed so many, but again, the cream of the crop.

US Trials are insanely fast for a domestic event – But faster than the Olympics? That poll says a lot, such a shame.

Reply to  Dee
7 years ago

Agreed, don´t know what kind of view some people have about the US trials and the olympics.
Just a quick ranking look (2015) on top 10

50 free women: Only Manuel on 8th
50 free men: Adrian 2nd, Dressel 4th, Schneider 6th
100 free women: Franklin 9th, Manuel 10th
100 free men: No swimmer

Just based on this you can say if the trials is stronger..

Reply to  FlSwim
7 years ago

A comparison from 2012 for some events:

M 50 Fr
OT: 1st 21.59 8th 22.53
OG: 21.34 21.98

W 50 Fr
OT: 24.50 25.42
OG: 24.05 24.69

M 1500 Fr
OT: 14:52.19 15:16.18
OG: 14.31.02 15.00.76

W 800 Fr
OT: 8:19.78 8:38.90
OG: 8:14.63 8:29.28

M 100 FL
OT: 51.14 52.67
OG: 51.21 52.05

W 100 FL
OT: 56.50 58.87
OG: 55.98 57.76

M 200 BK
OT: 1:54.54 2:02.52 (1:59.68 to qualify for final)
OG: 1:53.41 1:58.02 (1:58.99 to qualify for final)

W 200 BK
OT: 2:06.12 2:13.26
OG: 2:04.06 2:09.86

And it goes on like that. The OG winning times are usually faster… Read more »

7 years ago


Coach GB
7 years ago

The trials gets my vote as far as US is concerned. The mystic of being an Olympian in the US is something. Once an Olympian always an Olympian, no past or former. The finality of the event has real drama. The Games are also great but no matter how you do you are always an Olympian to those you come across in your life and it never fades. You have to perform that day OH ! The finality no matter your past record it is that day of your event that matters. The Olympics does not have the finality of trials. Nothing compares.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Coach GB
7 years ago

But the ultimate goal is to medal at olympic games.
Olympic trials is just a step.
If your goal is just to be an olympian, then your season is finished in early July and you will go to Rio as a tourist.
While I recognize that the US trials are a special meet with a lot of pressure and drama, the olympic games are by far the meet of the year. The entire world competes. History is made at olympics.
In 40 years I will probably not remember the names of most of the winners at 2016 US olympic trials, but I will probably remember much more what happened at olympic games.

Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

No denying that the Olympic Games are definitely the meet of the year. But I am more looking forward for the US Trials even though I am not American simply because I am excited for the potential new faces who are going to be on the team, which veterans will step up in trial and the Olympics.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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