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 World Junior champ on the boys side is most likely to win some sort of medal at the 2020 Olympics:
Question: Which boys World Junior champ is most likely to win a 2020 Olympic medal?
- Luca Urlando, USA – 41.6%
- Andrei Minakov, Russia – 35.8%
- Franko Grgic, Croatia – 12.0%
- Carson Foster, USA – 6.4%
- Apostolos Papastamos, Greece – 3.3%
- Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 0.9%
We purposefully left our medal requirement open-ended: not just a medal in their world junior title race, but any sort of Olympic medal. (Heck, they could go win one in skateboarding, though the likelihood is probably pretty small). Here’s the outlook for each member of our poll:
Urlando: It’s probably fair to call Urlando the safest bet for several reasons. First, his season-best of 1:53.84 in the 200 fly actually ranks #3 in the world for the season, meaning he’s a legit individual medal contender without even projecting big improvements. He’s also rising fast, and is a potential member of the U.S. 4×200 free relay, which should win a medal of some kind.
Minakov: The Russian Minakov is also a likely medalist. He was the silver medalist at senior Worlds with his 50.83 in the 100 fly, and ended the season ranked 3rd worldwide, just like Urlando. Minakov might even be a better bet – he’s the likely flyer on Russia’s men’s 4×100 medley relay, with probably less competition domestically than Urlando will have for his spot on the American 4×2.
Grgic: Grgic probably had the best single swim of World Juniors, a 14:46.09 true world junior record in the 1500. But Grgic finished the season ranked just 6th in the world, so he’s got his work cut out for him to win a medal next summer. On the other hand, Grgic is only 16 and still improving very fast.
Foster: The other American in our poll is Foster, the do-everything talent who won the 200 IM (1:58.46) at World Juniors and briefly set the world junior record in the 400 IM (4:13.39) at U.S. Nationals. The upside for Foster is that the 200 IM seems wide open at the American domestic and world levels right now, with Michael Phelps retired, Ryan Lochte aging and Chase Kalisz struggling. (Internationally, the event is open enough that specialists from other events have been able to cross over into medal contention, like backstroker Mich Larkin or freestyler Duncan Scott). The downside is that Foster ranks outside the top 15 in the world for the season and needs major improvement to challenge for an individual medal. He could also push for a 4×200 free relay spot, like Urlando.
Papastamos: The Greek Papastamos broke Foster’s world junior record while winning the 400 IM in 4:11.93 at World Juniors. He finished the year ranked #6 worldwide, and probably should have drawn a better result in our poll than he did. The 400 IM wasn’t terribly fast this year (only two men broke 4:10 all season) and the 18-year-old Papastamos dropped from 4:17.4 to 4:11.9 this season.
Ceccon: Ceccon is another guy who might have a better relay shot than an individual. With Italy rising internationally and Ceccon the team’s top backstroker, he could flow into medal contention as part of a medley relay with young stars Nicolo Martinenghi, Federico Burdisso and Alessandro Miressi. Ceccon is awfully versatile, too. He won the 50 fly at World Juniors in addition to the 100 back, and split 48.5 on a 4×100 free relay. Italy’s senior 4×100 free was fourth at Worlds, and Burdisso could get himself into the mix there as well. On the other hand, his individual events are stacked (the 100 back) and not included in the Olympics (50 fly), so it’s probably relay or bust for Ceccon, at least in 2020.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters the same question about the girls champions at World Juniors:
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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner