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 biggest upset winner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:
Question: Who was the biggest upset winner of the Tokyo Olympic Games?
- Ahmed Hafnaoui, men’s 400 free – 64.3%
- Lydia Jacoby, women’s 100 breast – 14.9%
- Bobby Finke, men’s 800/1500 free – 13.6%
- China, women’s 4×200 free relay – 7.2%
Almost two-thirds of the votes for biggest upset winner in Tokyo went to Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui, who stunned everyone with a surprise victory from Lane 8 in the men’s 400 freestyle.
The poll presented readers with an interesting question: how do they define an upset?
Hafnaoui was surely the biggest surprise to see atop the podium—no one in the SwimSwam Pick ’em Contest had even selected him to finish in the top four, let alone win.
But the men’s 400 free was one of the most wide open fields of the meet.
Reigning four-time world champion Sun Yang was absent, as was defending Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton. Elijah Winnington, who, along with eventual Tokyo silver medalist Jack McLoughlin, had beaten Horton head-to-head at the Australian Olympic Trials, was the swimmer most predicted to win the event, but with so many names seemingly in the mix for gold, can the race have a true “upset” winner?
On the flip side of that was the women’s 100 breaststroke, where defending champion Lilly King had essentially been undefeated in the event since Rio and looked like a near-lock for gold; she received somewhere in the vicinity of 96 percent of the first-place votes in the pick ’em.
Then there was Bobby Finke, who swept the men’s 800 and 1500 freestyle despite being a sizable underdog in both (he had four people pick him to win in each, about 0.4 percent). Those events lacked a clear favorite, but the medals were expected to be dispersed between the European trio of Gregorio Paltrinieri, Mykhailo Romanchuk and Florian Wellbrock, but Finke spoiled the party and used some killer closing speed in both races to touch first.
And then the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay, like the 100 breast, had a clear, bonafide favorite in Australia, while the Americans were given a chance by many as well. It was, however, the Chinese team orchestrating the upset, having been picked to win by just three people.
As the results show, the majority of readers voted for Hafnaoui (64.3%), giving the “biggest upset winner” nod to the swimmer least expected to make it on top of the podium, rather than someone like Jacoby (14.9%), who took down a big favorite.
Finke (13.6%) was close behind Jacoby, likely due to the dominance the aforementioned European trio has had in the distance events in recent years (and the fact that Finke dropped a lot of time, and they all added time, to make his victories possible).
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters to pick the International Swimming League (ISL) club most likely to break into the League’s Grand Final this season after the same four (Energy Standard, Cali Condors, London Roar, LA Current) have been in the final each of the first two seasons:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner