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 Poll, which asks voters how many world records will fall at U.S. Olympic Trials after zero world records in both 2012 and 2016:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner