SwimSwam Pulse: Women’s 100 Back, 100 Breast Are Deepest Events In The U.S.

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 event the United States would have the best chance of occupying all three podium places at the 2022 World Championships if they could bring three swimmers to Budapest:

Question: If countries could bring 3 swimmers per event, which race would the U.S. have the best chance of sweeping the Worlds podium in 2022?


  • Women’s 100 Back – 23.0%
  • Women’s 100 Breast – 20.2%
  • Women’s 200 IM – 15.4%
  • Men’s 100 Back – 13.8%
  • Women’s 100 Fly – 12.8%
  • Women’s 200 Back – 8.6%
  • Men’s 200 IM – 6.1%

The general goal of this poll was to establish which event at the currently ongoing U.S. World Championship Trials would have a third-place finisher who could realistically vie for a medal at the 2022 World Championships.

In other words, which race was the most competitive, three swimmers deep, where whichever swimmer(s) didn’t finish in the top-two were undoubtedly world class, and if they swam for any other country, they’d be in the medal conversation in two months time.

The question then evolved into which race the U.S. would have the best chance of sweeping in Budapest if they could bring three swimmers, which added in a layer of American strength relative to the rest of the world.

In a tight vote, the women’s 100 backstroke came out on top at 23 percent.

The event is a logical in some respects, given that the U.S. had five of the top 10 swimmers in the world in 2021. The third-place finisher at the Olympic Trials, Olivia Smoliga, swam a time in-season (58.31) that would’ve won the 2019 World Championship title.

However, looking at the global landscape, it would be difficult to imagine an American sweep at the World Championships, given that both Australian Kaylee McKeown and Canadian Kylie Masse have both broken 58 seconds multiple times, something only Regan Smith has done among Americans.

Second went to the 100 breast, where the U.S. has the world record holder and defending world champion in Lilly King, the reigning Olympic champion in Lydia Jacoby, and Annie Lazor, who ranked fourth in the world in 2021 behind only King, Tatjana Schoenmaker and Jacoby.

The women’s 200 breast, which wasn’t even included in the poll, can now enter this conversation, as King, Lazor and Kate Douglass all hit 2:21s at World Trials on Wednesday night, with Douglass earning an upset berth at Worlds over Lazor.

Additionally, Schoenmaker won’t compete in Budapest this year, which would make a potential U.S. sweep in both races a very likely scenario.

The women’s 200 IM was third in the voting, with the event a much more wide-open one on the world stage recently as Katinka Hosszu is no longer the dominant force she was in the mid-2010s. Douglass and Alex Walsh are the clear top-two in the U.S., and Torri Huske and Melanie Margalis are among the names who could fill that third spot. That race will play out on Saturday in Greensboro.

The men’s 100 back was next, which is warranted given the American depth highlighted by Ryan MurphyHunter Armstrong and Shaine Casas.

Both 100 back events will take place today at Trials, so we’ll see how things play out.

The women’s 100 fly, women’s 200 back and men’s 200 IM rounded out the poll results.

The women’s 100 fly is a deep event in the U.S. and has the added benefit of numerous big names sitting out of the event at Worlds this year, most notably current Olympic and world champion Maggie MacNeil, Tokyo bronze medalist Emma McKeon and world record holder Sarah Sjostrom.

The 200 back still has McKeown and Masse, though three American swimmers hit 2:05 in that final in Greensboro, while the men’s 200 IM didn’t get much love but has a strong talent pool with Chase KaliszMichael Andrew, Carson Foster and Casas.

Update: After this article was originally written, it’s clear the answer is the men’s and women’s 50 backstroke.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which of these world records will be on the books the longest:

Which LCM world record will stand the longest?

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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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Bobo Gigi
7 months ago

Next world championships will be much devalued with so many big names absent.

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
7 months ago

I don’t know: Can you name off the top of your head which World Championship meets Michael Phelps missed? I think there is enough depth in the sport that a WC title is still legit, no matter who is missing from the meet.

7 months ago

A bit like the mens 200fc, GB has their strength in that event

7 months ago

This question is so dependent on context because the US women’s 100 back feels like the deepest given how many 58s there are, but its also one of the deepest events in the world. Plus Masse and Mckeown are so consistent that it makes it hard to see one of them not making the podium. Alternatively, the women’s 100 breast has a huge drop off after King, Jacoby, and Lazor, but there’s a lot less international competition for the podium if the three of them are at their bests.

Reply to  swimswamswum
7 months ago

I’m so confused how 23% voted women’s 100 back. Like what the?
McKeown does 58 second swims consistently in season.

Last edited 7 months ago by Joel
Reply to  Joel
7 months ago

It reminds me of the predictions of all the Dressel 200 free times, way above his better times, what?

7 months ago

Men’s 50 back

7 months ago

I didnt think the poll was asking which was deepest, rather which they could sweep with lots of OLY champs not going.

7 months ago

The real answer now is the men’s 50 back

Some Guy
Reply to  oxyswim
7 months ago

Beat me to it

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
7 months ago

Men 100 back being overlooked like woah. Context is key here. These upcoming World Championships will not include the Russian duo.

7 months ago

100 back seems an odd choice when the gold and silver medallists from Tokyo will both be there and neither are American.

100 breast seems like the most clear choice considering Schoenmaker won’t be there which actually gives USA the top 3 from last year.

Miss M
Reply to  Sub13
7 months ago

Yes, a very strange result. No way both McKeown and Masse are getting beaten by 3 US swimmers.

Reply to  Sub13
7 months ago

Yeah I think people forgot about McKeown and Masse. Don’t know how, I mean really???
I thought women’s 100 fly was possible maybe due to three big names missing,

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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