SwimSwam Pulse: 81% Favor 400 IM WR Over 400 Free Gold For McIntosh In 2022

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 400-meter accomplishment is more likely for Canadian Summer McIntosh to achieve this year:

Question: Which feat is Summer McIntosh more likely to accomplish in 2022?


  • Break Hosszu’s 400 IM world record – 81.6%
  • Beat Ledecky/Titmus in 400 free at Worlds/Comm Games – 18.4%

Up until two weeks ago, both feats looked pretty far out of reach for every swimmer in the world. The women’s 400 IM world record of 4:26.36 hadn’t come close to being approached since Katinka Hosszu set it in 2016, and Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky have been head and shoulders above the rest in the 400 free for several years.

Things changed in early March, as teenage sensation Summer McIntosh dropped an incredible time of 4:29.12 in the 400 IM—the fastest since Hosszu set the world record—to rank third all-time in the event.

All of a sudden Hosszu’s world record appeared to be in sight, especially given the fact that McIntosh was presumably not fully tapered for the meet as she prepares for the Canadian World Trials next month.

This sparked the question: is it more likely for McIntosh to break Hosszu’s world record or beat either Ledecky or Titmus in the 400 free this year?

McIntosh, 15, is now within three seconds of Hosszu’s record. At the Olympics (when she was still just 14), she finished fourth in the 400 free in 4:02.42, just under six seconds behind Titmus (3:56.69) and just over five back of Ledecky (3:57.36).

But with the progress she’s clearly made in the time since the Games, the question then becomes what she’s capable of doing in the 400 free. Sub-4:00 seems imminent, but can she get down to the level of Titmus and Ledecky?

81.6 percent of readers believe the 400 IM world record is more likely for McIntosh in 2022 than a win over Ledecky or Titmus, which checks out given her recent medley performance. But if she drops something similarly impressive in the 400 free at World Trials, which are in early April, that narrative could change.

As outlined here, if McIntosh is to take a run at the 400 IM world record, it may come at the Commonwealth Games, rather than the World Championships, due to it being on the opening day of competition rather than the last.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which swimmer will put the most points on the board next week at the men’s NCAA Championships:

Who will score the most points at men's NCAAs?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

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6 months ago

if anyone going to beat mcintosh i think alex walsh will suprise people and break the world record in the 400 IM

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

Her 400 IM personal best is currently 4:42, set at a meet just before the COVID shutdowns where her 200 IM was 2:10.

That’s a very long way down to 4:29, let alone 4:26.

Walsh seems much more comfortable in the shorter IM.

Grimes/Mcintosh combo is the future
Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

Long Course: No chance

In a Bathtub pool: Maybe

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Last edited 6 months ago by Grimes/Mcintosh combo is the future
Ledecky forever
Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

If Only 400 IM world record were in SCY

Joel Li
6 months ago

4:25 tattoo.

Grimes/Mcintosh combo is the future
6 months ago


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Last edited 6 months ago by Grimes/Mcintosh combo is the future
6 months ago

Honestly, she may not even swim the 400/800 Free. She may decide to focus on the 4×200 relay, and 200 Fly/400 IM

Grimes/Mcintosh combo is the future
Reply to  Melanie
6 months ago

She will swim the 400 free at Worlds. She has nothing on day 1.

Big man
6 months ago

She’s going to beat ledecky

Reply to  Big man
6 months ago

What about Titmus at CW. Is it too much to ask? 😀

Reply to  Yozhik
6 months ago

No. Just no. She won’t beat Titmus

Reply to  Yozhik
6 months ago

Titmus went 4 minutes flat without being tapered and after being out of the water for an extended period of time at NSW open she has the chance to break the WR this year I can’t see Mcintosh beating Titmus yet

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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