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 which girls World Junior champ is most likely to win some sort of medal at the 2020 Olympics:
Question: Which girls World Junior champ is most likely to win a 2020 Olympic medal?
- Gretchen Walsh, USA – 61.7%
- Lani Pallister, Australia – 12.7%
- Evgeniia Chikunova, Russia – 12.7%
- Torri Huske, USA – 6.6%
- Jade Hannah, Canada – 4.6%
- Alba Vazquez, Spain – 1.6%
A heavy majority of voters went with Gretchen Walsh as the most likely World Junior champ to medal at next summer’s Olympics.
Walsh seems like a smart bet. She has the best relay potential of any of the six winners in our poll. She ranked 4th (53.74) among all American women in the 100 free this past season, is dropping fast and only has to remain in the top 6 to earn a very likely 4×100 free relay medal next summer.
Australia’s Lani Pallister and Russia’s Eveniia Chikunova actually tied in this poll, both receiving 119 votes. They both may have better individual medal chances than Walsh, but worse chances on relays.
Pallister won the 400, 800 and 1500 frees at World Juniors, while taking silver in the 200 free. She finishes the season ranked #10 worldwide in the 400, #8 worldwide in the 800 and #11 worldwide in the 1500. She could be an outside contender for a relay spot in the 4×200 free (she ranked 7th among Australians last year), but has her work cut out for her with a career-best of 1:58.09 (Australia had two 1:54s, a 1:55 and a 1:56 on their relay at Worlds, without even using Shayna Jack, who may or may not be suspended through the Olympics).
Chikunova is extremely young (just 14 as of this summer) and ranked #3 in the world in the 200 breast. But the women’s 200 breast is a crowded event, with six women between 2:20.1 and 2:21.8 last year, so Chikunova will need another good year for an individual medal. She’s not a likely relay medalist – she’d probably need to be the second-fastest Russian in the 100 breast, swim prelims and have the finals relay earn a medal, which would require a lot to go right for the Russian.
The last three finished way back in our poll. Torri Huske gets the American relay bump – even making the Olympic team puts her in great medal shape as a prelims relay swimmer. But one of Huske’s two individual golds from World Juniors is in a non-Olympic event (50 fly) and her other event (100 fly) ranks just 6th nationwide. On the other hand, she was second in the 100 free to Walsh, and could be a longshot for a relay spot there.
Canada’s Jade Hannah was the World Junior champ in the 100 and 200 back. She only ranks 18th and 19th, respectively, in the world in those events, so individual medals are a longshot. She’s third among Canadians in the 100 back and could be a prelims relay swimmer there. But the two ahead of her (Kylie Masse and Taylor Ruck) will be extremely hard to catch, and Canada is far from a guarantee to medal in the medley, despite winning bronze at Worlds this past summer.
Spain’s Alba Vazquez won the 400 IM and set a world junior record at World Juniors. However, she ranks just 17th in the world and has fairly low relay medal potential.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters how Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel will do on the 39th season of Survivor this fall:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner