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 whether Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom would win quadruple gold in Budapest:
Question: Will Sarah Sjostrom win four events at Worlds?
- Yes – 63.9%
- No – 36.1%
Almost two-thirds of voters predicted that Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom would win four gold medals at the 2017 World Championships.
That would be a pretty impressive feat, putting Sjostrom in elite company for most gold medals won in a single world championships. Missy Franklin holds the record at 6 golds from 2013, but half of those medals came in relays. Prior to Franklin, the record was 5 golds in a single meet, held by Tracy Caulkins from 1978 and Libby Trickett from 2007. Both won 3 individual races and 2 relays in their respective years.
Katie Ledecky tied that duo for 2nd-place all-time in 2015, earning 5 golds, 4 of which were individual with only one relay medal.
If Sjostrom does it, she’ll likely do it all by herself, with Sweden not likely in the hunt for any relay golds (though the 4×100 medley could be sneaky-good if all four legs are on). She currently leads the world rankings in the 50 free (23.83), 100 free (52.08), 50 fly (24.76) and 100 fly (55.76). She’s been within a tenth of a second of world records in both freestyles and already holds world records in both butterfly races.
Interestingly, this poll ran during U.S. Nationals, which could have swayed opinions either way. No American put up any times to shake Sjostrom’s top-ranked status, but Simone Manuel did make quite a name for herself last year with a huge time drop at the Olympics, and she sits only four tenths behind Sjostrom in the 50 free.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters to predict which world record from the 2009 supersuit era is most likely to fall at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest:
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What about Hosszu? Does she have a chance at breaking the record of 6 golds, given her versatility?
Nope. She is the favorite of the 200 and 400 IM. Back seems to be extremely challenging this year. If she catches the moment, she can collect another gold, with a higher chance in 200. Finishing with 4 golds by stealing 200 fly from Belmonte, too, would already be a miracle (actually this is my personal prediction, but I am Hungarian).
I forgot to vote for this, but I’m agreeing with the 63%. I couldn’t see this poll on my phone and my laptop’s broken, lol. GO SARAH
I appreciate how this article separates out individual and relay medals, although I’m not sure why the main swimmer raised in comparison to Sjostrom isn’t Ledecky instead of Franklin, considering that Ledecky won four individual golds at a world championship meet and Franklin/Caulkins/Trickett “only” won 3. I wish all swimming discussions separated individual and relay golds. It feels like a more honest comparison between swimmers of different countries, since some swimmers are very unlikely to add relay medals. Even this article seems to blur total medals won and individual medals.
northernsue – your point is a fair one, but it’s hard to balance that with the question of how many individual medals could an American or Missy Franklin win if not for relays. Phelps probably could’ve gone after at least 6 individually if he didn’t have to contend with relay swims – he was once one of the best backstrokers in the world afterall.
Thumbs up for that. “X is an 1x/2x/3x Olympic/Worlds champion” or whatever when half of it is relays(or even worse it’s just a prelims swimmer) is annoying. That’s absolutely nothing to scoff at, but relays are one thing and individual races another for the sake of comparing swimmers. If Sjostrom was American, she’d have 4-6 olympic relay golds right now and maybe the doubled amount from World Champs. She’s still just as good of a swimmer without them.
There’s actually a great chance Ledecky, Hosszu and Sjostrom will be top3 in individual World Championships golds all-time when Budapest is said and done. Ledecky already has the most with 7. Hosszu and Sjostrom sit at 5 and 4 respectively right now,… Read more »
Braden raises an excellent point, but I think Joe gets at some of my frustration, that the greatness of certain swimmers is slightly masked by the big combined medal totals sometimes thrown around. (Although one of my other pet peeves, for whatever it is worth, is that greatness is measured seemingly only through quantity of medals. Here I’m thinking of folks like Peaty–what about if you win relatively few medals but do so through mind-scorching performances? Number of medals is significant, but not the only marker of greatness.)
Whenever one comes to measure ” the greatness” there always be such a problem: what kind of scale has to be used. The swimming competition provides plenty of them to satisfy anybody taste.
Should we count relay medals? Franklin’s fans will say: certainly. Otherwise we have to forget seven of eleven her WC medals. And they have some point. How many swimmers of any other country have such impressive collection of relay medals? Does it say something about swimmer’s exceptional abilities? Of course it does. Can it be used to compare two “greatnesses” ? It depends what exactly one wants to prove by such comparison. Then the corresponding scale can be chosen.
well said Sue!
Agreed. Egerszegi for instance had one single relay medal, a Euro silver, or Darnyi had none, whilst he was unbeaten throughout his carrier.
What a worlds would be having three ladies scoring 4 individual golds each. Just can’t wait for it.
Hosszu isn’t going to
Well, at Windsor I thought that she should have scratched both fly events to keep her dominance in IM and back. Then she won both, bettering her PB by 0.6 sec in 100 at the very end of such a monstrous schedule, simply because that was needed to win. Or how about that coming home sprint in 100 back in Rio? I am not saying that she will make it, but we cannot say it’s definitely not possible.