SwimSwam Pulse: Virtual Dead-Heat Between Ledecky, Paltrinieri WR Predictions

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 distance free record is more likely to fall next summer:


Question: Which is more likely to happen next summer?

  • Katie Ledecky breaks women’s 1500 free world record – 34.9%
  • Gregorio Paltrinieri breaks men’s 1500 free world record – 34.2%
  • Both are equally likely – 30.9%

It came down to the narrowest of margins, with just three votes separating predictions of either Katie Ledecky or Gregorio Paltrinieri 1500 free world records next summer.

Those predicting Ledecky’s world record as more likely prevailed by just 0.7% of the votes. 34.9% voted for Ledecky, while 34.2% votes for Paltrinieri. Meanwhile 30.9% picked both as equally likely.

Ledecky has one distinct advantage: she already owns the world record in the women’s 1500 free. But Ledecky is now going on 27 months without a best time in that race. She set the world record with a 15:20.48 at an in-season Pro Swim Series meet in May of 2018. In fact, it was Ledecky’s first meet after turning professional.

Later that summer, Ledecky was just 15:38 at Pan Pacs, 18 seconds off her world record. The following season, Ledecky also hit her season-best time at a regular-season PSS meet: she was 15:45.59 in Knoxville in January, but fell ill at the World Championships in July and scratched this event. In the shortened 2019-2020 season, Ledecky looked solid with a 15:35.98 at U.S. Open in December, but had potential swims at Olympic Trials and the Olympics postponed due to the coronavirus.

Paltrinieri definitely has more momentum. The Italian distance star crushed a personal-best and European record 14:33.10 this month at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome. That took almost a second off of his previous best (from 2016) and moved him further into the #2 spot all-time. Paltrinieri is still about two seconds behind Sun Yang‘s world record.

In our poll, Paltrinieri was certainly boosted by the recency of his big swim, which grabbed headlines this month. He was also perhaps aided by wishful thinking, as many fans have publicly hoped that Paltrinieri could erase a world record held by the polarizing Sun, whose career may or may not be over as he appeals an 8-year ban over a doping test altercation.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to pick which recently-graduated college senior will be the most impactful pickup in the International Swimming League this season:

Who will be the most valuable newcomer to the ISL in 2020?

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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.

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

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23 days ago

Katie Ledecky swims the final of the women’s 1500 meter freestyle for the win in the range of 15:25.48 to 15:29.51 based on past performances. The final of the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay is scheduled for the following morning, thus energy management shall be taken into consideration.

23 days ago

Katie Ledecky posted a 15:29.51 in the women’s 1500 meter freestyle dated 03/04/2020 at the 2020 TYR Pro Swim Series in Des Moines.

Corn Pop
23 days ago

KL’s 1500 is almost perfection . Paltrineri is like one second faster than a guy swam before 9/11.

Reply to  Corn Pop
23 days ago

ok but the poll is about whether she or he will break the world record. yes, ledecky’s WR is more impressive compared to other women past and present, and i see your point on the stagnation of men’s international distance swimming…but, i think GP is simply more likely to break the WR sooner

Reply to  swimfast
23 days ago

Katie Ledecky has broken the world record in the women’s 1500 meter freestyle six times. I have a sneaky suspicion that Katie Ledecky wants the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay world record.

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 …

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