SwimSwam’s Top 100 For 2022: Men’s #40-31

Our Top 100 For 2022 series continues with the men’s 40th through 31st-ranked swimmers for the coming year.

The rankings are heavily weighted towards the Long Course World Championships, but also factors in other championship-level international meets, plus ISL scoring potential.

We’ll break down the list into multiple installments, so stay tuned as we continue with our lists.

These lists are, by nature, subjective. If you disagree, leave your thoughts/ranks in the comments.

See also:

#40: Jay Litherland, USA – Litherland has been nothing but consistent in performing when the chips are down, steadily moving up on the international stage in the men’s 400 IM. The 26-year-old was fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games and 2017 World Championships, and then followed up with back-to-back silver medals at 2019 Worlds and the 2021 Olympics. The UGA grad erased a near three-second deficit at the 300m mark to qualify for the Olympic team at the Trials last summer in Omaha, running down Carson Foster, and it feels like he’ll need to progress past the 4:09s he’s been hitting if he wants to continue medalling on the biggest stage down the line. Litherland only ranked tied for eighth in the world in the event in 2021, but until we see it, it’s hard to bet against him pulling out a top-two finish at Trials. However, it will be a tough task this year with reigning Olympic champion Chase Kalisz and 2021 world #1 Foster in his path.

#39: Fernando Scheffer, Brazil – Scheffer has been climbing the ladder in the men’s 200 freestyle ranks over the last few years, and caught fire with career-best form in Tokyo. The 23-year-old Brazilian joined the elusive sub-1:45 club in the final, clocking 1:44.66 for a new South American Record and an Olympic bronze medal. He followed up by putting together a solid short course season in the ISL, scoring 151.5 points for the LA Current, and also has the potential to be a future contender in the LC 400 with a best of 3:47.7. It was only a few years ago that it was a rarity to see a swimmer break 1:45 in the 200 free. In 2021, eight different guys did it. So the men’s 200 free is currently tightly bunched at the top, but Scheffer now factors firmly into that mix.

#38: Federico Burdisso, Italy – Burdisso has emerged as a top medal threat in the men’s 200 fly at each and every major competition he lines up in dating back to 2018, having broken out with a bronze that year at LC Euros shortly before his 17th birthday. The Italian was fourth at 2019 Worlds, second at 2021 Euros and then came through with the bronze in Tokyo, swimming in between 1:54.28 and 1:54.45 at all three meets. Now 20, Burdisso has also developed into a solid 51-mid 100 flier, and his ability to step up and perform his best at the biggest meets of the year makes him a good bet to be a medalist moving forward.

#37: Luke Greenbank, Great Britain – Greenbank broke through to win the bronze medal in the men’s 200 backstroke at the 2019 World Championships, hitting a best time of 1:55.85, and then had a massive 2021 that saw him deliver the eight fastest swims of his career. The 24-year-old roared to a new British Record in the semis at LC Euros in 1:54.43, going on to win silver behind Evgeny Rylov, and then proceeded to hit a trio of 1:54s at the Tokyo Games to ultimately claim bronze behind Rylov and Ryan Murphy. Behind those two, Greenbank is the only man currently going sub-1:55 consistently, putting him in a prime spot for major medals moving forward. And although the Brit isn’t as good of a short course swimmer as he is in the big pool, he still chipped in 121.5 points for the London Roar in the ISL last season.

#36: Tomoru Honda, Japan – Honda hit a rare achievement in 2021, winning an individual Olympic silver medal before ever competing at a World Championship. After winning silver in the men’s 200 butterfly at the 2019 World Juniors in 1:55.31, Honda ran down Daiya Seto to place first at the 2021 Japanese Olympic Trials in a time of 1:54.88, and further lowered his PB leading into the Games in 1:54.59. Still just 19 (he turned 20 on December 31), Honda dropped another best time in the Olympic final to win silver in 1:53.73, joining Kristof Milak as the only two men sub-1:54 for the year. Given he only just turned 20, has steadily improved, and the 200 fly is pretty wide open behind Milak, Honda is well on his way to being a consistent major international podium finisher. He’s not just a one-trick pony either, as Honda is also a very capable freestyler and IMer, which makes him a solid ISL scorer if he opts to get back into the league next season.

#35: Jack McLoughlin, Australia – McLoughlin has been putting up some of the fastest times in the world in the men’s distance freestyle events since 2018, and he’s got the medals to show for it. The Australian native won the men’s 400 free at the 2018 Pan Pacs, the 1500 free at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and nearly pulled off an epic victory at the 2021 Olympics in the 400 free, winning silver in 3:43.52 behind Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui. McLoughlin, 26, is the only swimmer to have been sub-3:45 in the 400 in every year since 2018, swimming his PB of 3:43.27 in 2021, and also went a best time of 7:42.51 in the 800 free last year, ranking fifth in the world. His medal hopes at LC Worlds are tough to predict considering the depth of the talent in Australia, from 2021’s fastest swimmer Elijah Winnington, to 2016 Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton, and the youngster on the rise, Thomas Neill. But it’s fair to say McLoughlin has been the most consistent of those names recently (not necessarily including Neill), and if he can qualify to compete in Fukuoka, he’s a medal hopeful.

#34: Brendon Smith, Australia – Smith quickly entered the fray as a medal contender at the Tokyo Olympics after dropping an Australian Record of 4:10.04 in the men’s 400 IM at their national trials in June, taking off nearly five seconds from his 2019 PB of 4:14.91. Smith carried that momentum through the Olympic Games, lowering that Aussie Record down to 4:09.27 in the prelims before claiming bronze in the final (4:10.38). The 21-year-old also qualified to swim the 200 IM in Tokyo, finishing four-tenths outside of a semi-final berth in 22nd, and followed that up with an incredible ISL performance for the NY Breakers. He was the club’s top male scorer with 122 points, going a perfect five-for-five in the 400 free while emerging as the league’s fastest swimmer in the event (3:37.11) and second-fastest in the 400 IM (3:59.33). Given that the men’s 400 IM and 400 free clash on the Olympic schedule, Smith didn’t pursue the freestyle event for Tokyo, but at Worlds they’re at opposite ends of the competition, so he could become a long course player in that race in 2022 as well. But in the 400 IM, he’s a certain medal contender.

#33: Ilya Borodin, Russia – Borodin was, in many ways, the forgotten man of the Tokyo Olympics, as he was forced to withdraw just days out of the competition due to a positive COVID-19 test. That leaves us to imagine what might have been, as Borodin was coming off of winning the European title in May in a time of 4:10.02, which ended up being just six-tenths shy of the gold-medal-winning time in Tokyo. The 18-year-old Russian made up for lost time with an explosive short course season, winning the 400 IM five times for the Aqua Centurions in the ISL, breaking the world junior record in the event en route to winning gold at SC Euros in 3:58.83, and then knocking more than two seconds off of that to finish a close second to Daiya Seto at SC Worlds in 3:56.47. Borodin’s progress in the short course pool at the end of 2021 makes us pretty bullish on his long course prospects in 2022, though he’s currently only truly elite in one event.

#32: Andrei Minakov, Russia – Minakov was probably pigeon-holed a little bit after winning silver in the 100 butterfly at the 2019 World Championships (50.83), making his World Junior Record swim in the 100 freestyle in October 2020 a shock to many. Minakov dropped almost a full second in one swim, from 48.50 to 47.57, making him a true dual-threat leading into the Olympic year. The 19-year-old Russian won bronze in the 100 free at LC Euros in May, going sub-48 in all three rounds, but had an off swim in the 100 fly semis and missed the final. The opposite happened in Tokyo, as Minakov placed fourth in the 100 fly (50.88) and 10th in the 100 free, though his lead-off time from the 400 free relay (47.71) would’ve been fourth in the final. A few months into his freshman year at Stanford, Minakov went out and won six medals at his first SC World Championships in December, including a pair of relay golds and an individual bronze in the 100 fly. Also owning an elite best time in the 50 fly (23.02), Minakov has three events in which he’ll have a chance for a podium spot at LC Worlds, and he’s quickly becoming a premier short course swimmer as well.

#31: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – Flip the 100 fly for the 100 back, and Ceccon has a very similar skillset to Minakov. Ceccon, 20, really took his game to a new level at the Tokyo Olympics, soaring to lifetime bests in the 100 free (47.71) and 100 back (52.30, 52.23 if you include the mixed medley relay lead-off). The Italian finished fourth in the 100 back, 11 one-hundredths behind bronze medalist Ryan Murphy, and ended up 12th in the 100 free semis after his PB qualified him first out of the prelims. He finished the year ranked fourth in the world in the 100 back, tied with Minakov for eighth in the 100 free, and also sat eighth in the 50 fly (23.31). He added individual medals at SC Euros in the 200 IM (silver) and 50 fly (bronze), also splitting 20.82 on the 200 free relay, and added a bronze in the 100 IM (51.40) at SC Worlds. With such a vast skillset, Ceccon is set up to make a serious impact in 2022.

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Joel
1 day ago

Unfortunately for B.Smith, the Aussie trials are following the same format as their Olympic trials (who knows why?) so the 400 free and 400IM heats and semis are both on the first day. Ridiculous when they are not on the same day at World champs. I think it’s the same for 200 back and 200IM also. Ugh.

Last edited 1 day ago by Joel
McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Joel
1 day ago

maybe to keep each session around the same length? don’t think they could move it to day 6 with both an 800 and 1500 scheduled on that day, but surely something else could work. the aus 400 free field is pretty crowded atm, so he’d have a hard time qualifying there anyway

CanSwim13
1 day ago

A lot of 4 Imers in the top 40 it looks like

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 day ago

Is Michael Andrew in top 30 or not on the list at all?

Rafael

Actually he was on top 10 on first draft, then dropped to 50, then out.. like his swims over each round..

Sub13

He made three Olympic finals. He’s definitely in the top 30 because there’s no way he’s off the list altogether.

Hswimmer

Of course. He made multiple Olympic finals and got a WR on the medley relay. He’s a great guy just doesn’t know how to close in the last 50 of a 200 IM.

HJones
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 day ago

Oh come on, stop with this relay WR credential. The three other guys carried him to the gold/WR, and any one of the other two breaststrokers the USA brought to Tokyo could’ve swum that leg and they still get gold with a WR. Regardless, I agree that MA should be in the top 30, maybe top 20.

swimswamswum

I feel like Andrew is in the top 20 even towards the top 10. Based on potential, he has times close to medaling in 4 Olympic events (100 breast, 100 fly, 200 IM, 50 free) and an outside shot at the other 3 50’s. So there is a world where he puts it all together at one meet and has a huge medal haul.

Rafael
Reply to  swimswamswum
1 day ago

His 100 fly time is not close to medal anymore.. and while his 100 breast time is amazing, Peaty and Kamminga are not going anywhere soon and Martineghi is younger..

Bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Rafael
1 day ago

Ponti won bronze in 50.7, Andrew was 50.8 at a Pro Swim

Last edited 1 day ago by Bobthebuilderrocks
Rafael
Reply to  Bobthebuilderrocks
1 day ago

So andrew is the US Morozov.. never ever delivers when it counts

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Rafael
1 day ago

pretty much. and andrew’s IM final in tokyo is morozov’s 2013 worlds 100 free swim in 200 form

HJones
Reply to  Rafael
1 day ago

Martineghi is only a few months younger than MA, 3.5 months to be exact. In reality, this isn’t much of an age difference. But I do agree that NM has more upside in the event–could see him at 57 high next year.

Last edited 1 day ago by HJones
Mclovin
Reply to  Rafael
22 hours ago

Martinegui is exactly the same age as Andrew. I know many of you dont like Andrew but come on, he got best times in every event he swam at trials. Had he swam the 100m butterfly he would have probably lowered his best time even further below 50,80.. and that for me is a medal contender.
I would love to see him put all together and have an international meet breaktrought. His times are medal worthy already.

Chad

I’m guessing SS will put him in the high teens and half the people are going to mad he isn’t in the top 10 and half the people will be mad he was on the list at all.

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
1 day ago

Surprised there are already so many Olympic medalists among 31-100, including some young guys like Honda, Burdisso and Brendon S.

I find it hard to come up with the remaining 30. In no particular order: Dressel, Chalmers, Kolesnikov, Scott, Dean, Hafnaoui, Kieran S, Finke, Romanchuk, Paltrinieri, Wellbrock, Rylov, Murphy, Peaty, Kamminga, Martinenghi, Stubblety-cook, Milak, Ponti, Shun, Kalisz, Foster, Hwang, Popovici, Seto, Chupkov, Shymanovich, Michael Andrew.
These are only 28. Who else am I missing?

Last edited 1 day ago by Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Jonathan Charbroiled Steak

Shoma Sato?

96Swim

Maybe Townley? Not saying he should be top 30 but given some of the names in 31-100, I would have expected him to be on the list somewhere.

Sub13
Reply to  96Swim
1 day ago

How would Townley Haas possibly be too 30? No finals, no medals, no notable swims. He swam the 39th fastest 200 free last year which is his only competitive event.

96Swim

Or Seliskar? Wouldn’t have expected him in top 30 based on trials/Olympics, but would have expected him to be higher than some of the names already on the list.

96Swim

Sun Yang swimming under an assumed name? Dean Ferris with fins?

AnEn

Larkin?

My top 30 (in no particular order):
Dressel, Kolesnikov, Scott, Ceccon, Finke, Rylov, Milak, Kamminga, Hafnaoui, Wellbrock, Peaty, Stubblety-Cook, Paltrinieri, Romanchuk, Popovici, Hwang, Murphy, K. Smith, Dean, Andrew, Chalmers, Minakov, Larkin, Wang Shun + 6 out of Seto/Razzetti/McLoughlin/Winnington/Liendo/Casas/C. Foster/Gonzalez/Kos/Miressi/Ponti/Borodin/Kalisz/Clareburt/Sates/Marchand/Guy/Auböck. For me all of those guys have a case to be top 30.

Khachaturian
1 day ago

Burdisso this high?

classic_swimmer
Reply to  Khachaturian
1 day ago

Of course. He’s a solid medal contender in the 2Fly.

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  classic_swimmer
1 day ago

and relay value with italy being a strong medal contender in the men’s medley. then there’s euros this year, where he’s a solid silver medalist behind milak in the 200

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Khachaturian
1 day ago

I’m more surprised that he and Honda are not higher. This leaves Milak as the only one in top 30 whose main event is 200 fly.

Uhhh

Probably because the 200 fly behind milak is the softest field in men’s swimming(except maybe the 50 free behind Dressel)

Troyy
1 day ago

According to an article published by State of Swimming many top Aussies are considering skipping Worlds this year and prioritising Comm Games instead. Also they’re going back to using FINA A standards for qualifying.

CLsuperfan
Reply to  Troyy
1 day ago

I can’t take anything Craig writes seriously. Of course he’s going to say that, not citing any sources, because it’s one more way to cut at his sworn enemies, FINA.

I’m not going to say anything that’s going to get me sued, but ask around as to why Craig “left” Swimming World. I think sometimes maybe he throws his own special spin onto stories to further his personal political agendas even if that special spin maybe deviates from what most people would agree to be the truth.

Troyy
Reply to  CLsuperfan
1 day ago

The source is The Australian (website) and they spoke directly with Swimming Australia who said that top swimmers have been given permission to skip Worlds (this is needed so they don’t lose their Olympic bonuses). I read it earlier but now the paywall is blocking me from getting back in. 💩

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/radical-overhaul-of-selection-policy-to-shake-up-aussie-swim-team/news-story/4b10aee846d6dc8e332d8b652c3aa3f8

SwimmingWorld also reported that Titmus is prioritising Comm Games the other day.

flicker
Reply to  Troyy
1 day ago

“This includes Titmus, Chalmers, Cate and Bronte Campbell, Kaylee McKeown, Jack McLoughlin, young gun Meg Harris and many more” if those listed do decide to skip world’s, this is actually great news for Mollie and further proves that ranking her that low was a mistake as it’s entirely possible she could be swimming the 100 back and 100/200 free individually at worlds now

Troyy
Reply to  flicker
1 day ago

Yes, a great opportunity for O’Callaghan but if the schedule is the same as Gwangju the 100 back final is less than 25 mins before the 200 free semi.

Troyy
Reply to  CLsuperfan
1 day ago

I tried posting a more detailed reply but it’s stuck in the modqueue. The source is a major Australian news website (paywalled) that spoke directly with Swimming Australia.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
1 day ago

I’m not mad at that. Anyone who goes to worlds will have less than a month before Comm games trials. If the swimmers want to choose one or the other then so be it.

I am not surprised at all about Cate or Ariarne because they both seem to have been open about wanting a long break, and Kaylee and Kyle are both dealing with significant injuries.

Looking at the bright side, this opens up some opportunities for younger talent and some who are knocking on the door (Atherton, Dekkers, Jack?) to get some international experience that they otherwise might not have.

Joel
Reply to  Sub13
1 day ago

There is not exactly a seperate Comm games trials. It’s a few seperate meets I think to see if anyone goes faster than the third place getter at the April trials

Troyy
Reply to  Joel
1 day ago

Only the first place getter qualifies for Comm Games automatically. Other spots go to fastest from Worlds, Sydney Open and the Mare Nostrum meet in Monaco.

commonwombat
Reply to  Troyy
1 day ago

Have ZERO issue with swimmers deciding to take a year out, particularly if there are physical/health issues in play ….. and this is clearly the case with certain top AUS swimmers.

However, if it IS the case that Swimming AUS are handing out “leave passes” for Worlds but then letting these same swimmers compete at CG then the question needs to be asked …. “what, in the name of all that is holy, are they thinking ??”

When it comes to public funding, Sport AUS makes funding decisions off performances at a designated “ranking meet” for the year and it would be completely mystifying if THEY designated CG in front of Worlds. Unless they’ve made some sort of backroom deal,… Read more »

AnEn
1 day ago

For me Litherland, Scheffer and B. Smith are overranked (not enough versatility) while Minakov and Ceccon are underranked.

Robbos
1 day ago

The Italians have some very good swimmers, men especially, they performed really well at the Olympics, with 2 relay medals & 6 minor medals all up with swimmers like Miressi, Ceccon, Martinenghi, Burdisso, Razzetti.
Winning 2 relay medals especially in the 4X100 shows good depth.

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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