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 country would boast the top men’s 100 backstroker by the end of the summer:
Question: At the end of the summer, which nation will have the fastest men’s 100 backstroker?
- USA (Ryan Murphy/Matt Grevers/Others) – 76.0%
- China (Xu Jiayu) – 10.7%
- Russia (Evgeny Rylov/Kliment Kolesnikov) – 8.9%
- Japan (Ryosuke Irie) – 3.7%
- Other – 0.6%
More than three-quarters of voters expressed confidence that the Americans would keep their historic levels of dominance in the men’s 100 backstroke, with no other country getting more than 11% of the total votes.
That confidence isn’t misplaced, historically speaking. The U.S. has won the last 6 Olympic golds and 5 of the last 10 long course World Championships golds in the men’s 100 back. But things have tightened up considerably. China’s Xu Jiayu won Worlds gold last summer and Australia’s Mitch Larkin two years before that. Currently, no Americans sit in the top 5 worldwide in the event this season, though that should change come U.S. Nationals.
Olympic champ and world record-holder Ryan Murphy is the top threat for the United States, though he regressed last summer. Veteran and 2012 Olympic champ Matt Grevers is still in the mix, as is speedster Justin Ress, who sits just behind Murphy for the top time in the country this season. 76% voted on that group (or any other American) to produce the 2018 season’s top time.
Just over 10% went with Xu and China’s attack. He currently leads the world ranks at 52.60, though the next Chinese swimmer doesn’t come until 9th in the rankings.
Only 8.9% voted for the young Russian duo that is taking the world by storm. 21-year-old Evgeny Rylov is #2 in the world and 17-year-old Kliment Kolesnikov #3. The Russians also have Grigory Tarasevich in the top 10 this season.
Japan’s Ryosuke Irie has been a staple of the world backstroke scene, but the 28-year-old only pulled about 4% of the votes despite sitting 4th in the world this season. Only 4 people voted for someone from another country – Larkin is the top-ranked swimmer not in our poll (ranked 5th worldwide).
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters to predict the top American 400 IMer on the women’s side:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner