SwimSwam Pulse: 62% Pick Hosszu To Defend Olympic 400 IM Title

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 most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the most likely of three 2016 Olympic gold medalists to defend their titles in 2021:


Question: Who has the best shot to defend their 2016 Olympic title?

  • Katinka Hosszu, 400 IM – 61.9%
  • Katinka Hosszu, 200 IM – 27.0%
  • Pernille Blume, 50 free – 11.1%

Voters overwhelmingly picked Katinka Hosszu‘s 400 IM as the most likely gold defense over Hosszu’s 200 IM and Pernille Blume‘s 50 free.

Our poll narrowed in on three events where a title defense might be more in question. (It wouldn’t be a very interesting poll result had we included Katie Ledecky’s 800 free!). But the 400 IM does stand out in this list, without any clear standouts to threaten Hosszu, even if she’s gone a bit backwards time-wise since Rio.

Hosszu won the 2016 Olympic gold in a world-record 4:26.36. She’s won both World Champs golds since then (2017 and 2019) and had the world’s fastest time in 2017, 2019, and so far in 2021. However, she slid back to 4:29 in 2017, then 4:30 in 2019, and had just the 5th-fastest time in the world for the calendar year 2020 at 4:36.0.

Hosszu has also won both Worlds golds in the 200 IM since Rio. But there appear to be more threats in that event, including standout backstrokers Kaylee McKeown and Kathleen Baker, along with IM talents like Yui Ohashi and Ye Shiwen. For 2021 so far, Hosszu is just 11th in world ranks across the calendar year.

Blume has not medaled at Worlds in the 50 free since her Olympic win. She’s had some good swims outside of the world spotlight, though, including a 24.06 at Euros this spring that ranks her #2 worldwide for the calendar year. She’s got a brutal field to deal with, though, including world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom, 2019 World Champ Simone Manuel and current 2021 world leader Ranomi Kromowidjojo.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters how many world records will fall at U.S. Olympic Trials after zero world records in both 2012 and 2016:

How many world records will fall at U.S. Olympic Trials?

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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.

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1 year ago

DiRado’s 400 IM time in Rio was 4:31.15 (pi in wrong order :), that could easily be
a winning time now. My take for gold is Ohashi at home around mid 4:31.

Jonny Davis
1 year ago

62% of you will be very wrong

1 year ago

Yeah but does 6x as many people voting for Hosszu imply she’s 6x more likely to win? I think people would just put money on almost anyone to repeat over the winner of the 50. Manaudou was about as close to a lock as you could get to repeat in Rio IMO and that didn’t happen.

Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

in spirit of hagino being in the mens poll, sjostrom should’ve been on this poll. then we watch her get more votes than blume

Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

I’d bet on Ledecky beating her in the 4im. Ledecky has the distance ability to win it and will want to expand her reign from only competing in the basic stroke of freestyle.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 year ago

a day before doing 2 rounds of 400 free? also has to fake 300m of strokes she doesnt train for, with the middle 200 being particularly slow

Last edited 1 year ago by Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

Doesn’t matter. They know it better, and of course it’s calfish.

Joris Bohnson
1 year ago

Margalis > ohashi > hosszu

Last edited 1 year ago by Joris Bohnson
1 year ago

This is even more true now that kaylee isn’t even going to swim the 4 IM at trials so the odds are in her favor at the moment.

Reply to  PFA
1 year ago

Even american #2 will be faster than Hosszu.

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago


1 year ago

How about this for a question;

“Besides Ledecky in the 800 fr and Peaty in the 100 br who is the most likely 2016 gold medalist to repeat*?”

Ledecky in the 400 free is probably the answer, but I can see a case for several others.

*If you want to include relays I would exclude the US women in the medley.

Last edited 1 year ago by frug
Reply to  frug
1 year ago

Most likely to repeat aside from Peaty and Ledecky:

King – W 100 BR

Last edited 1 year ago by Smith-King--Dahlia-Manuel

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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