SwimSwam Pulse: 84% Prefer NCAA Title To U.S. Open Record

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


Question: Would you rather break a U.S. Open record or win an NCAA event title?

  • NCAA title – 84.7%
  • U.S. Open record – 15.3%

A huge majority of voters would rather win an NCAA event title than set a U.S. Open record, according to our latest poll.

That tracks with our previous poll, in which 81% would rather win an Olympic gold than set a world record. Winning an event at a high-level meet clearly carries a huge amount of prestige among fans, with times and records holding a lesser allure.

The U.S. Open record probably doesn’t have the name value of something like a world record or even an NCAA record. But a U.S. Open record should, in theory, be the most prestigious of the three major short course yards records – U.S. Open records track the fastest time swum by a swimmer of any nationality on American soil. As short course yards meets are extremely rare outside of U.S. soil, the U.S. Open record is often effectively a world record for yards swims.

(Compare that to an American record, which tracks the fastest swim by an American but factors out a huge number of internationals who swim in the NCAA, or an NCAA record, which includes all college swimmers, but doesn’t include standout high schooler national record-breakers like Regan Smith or Katie Ledeckyor post-grad swimmers who set national yards marks like Zane Grothe.)


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters which supersuited men’s world record will fall first:

Which of these world records will fall first:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...



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.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 months ago

ohh I love the new poll. I would at first glance say the 200 back, but for some reason none of the top backstrokers are really close. The freestyle records are nuts. I think the 400 IM will fall first. A perfect swim from Seto could break it, or if Kalisz rebounds.

6 months ago

I’d say the 400 free is actually slightly more likely than the 200 back, actually. 4IM, 200 free, and 800 free are going to take even longer.

That 400 free is stupid fast, but I’m optimistic about a breakout within the next few years. There can only be so many guys going 3:42 and 3:43 before someone starts raising the standard. I think it’s going to take really great pacing and a really special mix of speed and endurance, but I think there’s enough talent in the field right now that it could happen.

Colt Simonelli
Reply to  sven
6 months ago

I agree, there have been a lot of people close to the record. Yang was 3:40.14, Tae-Hwan and Horton both 3:41 without the suit and of course Thorpe before the suit.

6 months ago

Ain’t no one touching that 200 free record.

Cal fan
6 months ago

I agree, 200 free will be there until next decade. 400 IM still will be around. No one has been faster then 4:05 since 2012 and that was Locthe. Maybe a 4:04 but I don’t see anyone coming home in a 55 like Phelps. 800 free maybe? Only because it’s now an Olympic event and has more emphasis, but having to split (3:46/3:46) is nuts. I would think the 200 back would be the most probable because the past few years we have finally got back down to 51 100 back, I feel as though the 200 back will follow soon. 400 free? No ones been 3:41 since 2016. I only see Sun doing it (but he banned) and Mack,… Read more »

6 months ago

Winning a gold medal and setting a world record at the Summer Olympics is not mutually exclusive (Franklin 2012, Ledecky 2016, Soni 2008 & 2012, Vollmer 2012).

6 months ago

The reality is people remember medals and wins more than they remember times – usually. And unless that time is something really special (like the first 50 y free under 18 seconds etc) it just doesn’t stay in your memory years later

Reply to  James
6 months ago

To me it’s always come down to “inside” or “outside.” If your target audience is “inside” swimming, I could see why the times could matter more. Among your peers, for example.

“Outside” swimming, the wins will always mean more.

Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

At the international level, it seems a greater emphasis is placed on the medal tally.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »