SwimSwam’s Top 100 For 2022: Men’s #50-41

Our Top 100 For 2022 series continues with the 50th through 41st-ranked male swimmers in the world 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:

#50: Zach Apple, USA – Apple has consistently been among the top freestyle sprinters the U.S. has had to offer since 2018, and has now been between 47.69 and 47.79 four times in the 100 free. In late 2020, he emerged as a star for the DC Trident in the ISL, hitting multiple 45-point swims in the SCM 100 free, and qualified for his first Olympic team in 2021 by taking second at the Trials in his best event. Also an elite talent in the 50 and 200 free, the 24-year-old will continue to be in the running for a spot on the podium at major international events as long as he keeps hitting those 47s. He’s also been as fast as 46.69 with a relay takeover.

#49: Luca Urlando, USA – Urlando was penciled in to be a force at the Tokyo Olympics after breaking Michael Phelps’ 17-18 NAG record in the LCM 200 fly (1:53.84) in the summer of 2019. But a shoulder injury in early 2020 stalled his progress, and he ended up missing the U.S. Olympic team after placing third in both the men’s 100 and 200 fly at Trials. Now in his sophomore year at the University of Georgia, the 19-year-old appears on track to get on the U.S. World Championship team in 2022 and vie for a medal in the 200 fly. In Tokyo, Urlando’s PB was only a tenth slower than what it took to win silver, and while swimming a time and doing it in an Olympic final are two entirely different things, Urlando’s talent makes him a prime medal candidate in the event for years to come. Behind world record holder Kristof Milak, the men’s 200 fly is pretty wide open on the international stage.

#48: Leon Marchand, France – Marchand emerged as a swimmer on the rise in 2021, setting a French National Record in the men’s 400 IM (4:09.65) at France’s Olympic Trials, and he went on to place sixth in Tokyo while also taking 14th in the 200 fly and 18th in the 200 IM. Only one swimmer in the Olympic final ended up breaking 4:10, and at 19, Marchand figures to feature prominently in the event’s next wave of international medalists. His PBs in the 200 fly (1:55.40) and 200 IM (1:58.03) are also promising, and he’s had an explosive start to his NCAA career at Arizona State. If that form is any indication, we should be in store for more long course drops in 2022.

#47: Alberto Razzetti, Italy – Razzetti is a bit of a dark horse selection inside the top 50, but earns his spot after following up a strong Olympic performance with a breakout short course season. The 22-year-old entered 2021 with zero major international medals on his resume, but leaves with seven, winning two at LC Euros in May, three at SC Euros in November and then two more at SC Worlds in December, including 200 fly gold in the latter two. In long course, he essentially came out of nowhere to win silver at Euros in the 400 IM and then make the Olympic final, clocking 4:09 after his PB on record coming into the year was 4:21. Short course proved to be his bread and butter, resetting Italian Records in the 200 fly (1:49.06), 200 IM (1:51.54) and 400 IM (3:59.57), and he was also the top male scorer for the Toronto Titans in the ISL with 203.5 points (ranking 36th in the league overall). Given that his improvements came fast and furious in 2021, it’s hard to deny that he’ll be a force everywhere he competes in 2022.

#46: Danas Rapsys, Lithuania – Rapsys is a top-tier mid-distance freestyler, and if it wasn’t for a false start in the final, he would be the reigning world champion in the 200 free (unless you think that helped him edge out Sun Yang for the win, but anyway). The Lithuanian owns elite best times of 1:44.38 and 3:43.36 in the 200 and 400 free, both of which would’ve made the podium in Tokyo (the 400 would’ve actually tied for gold). But, Rapsys had a bit off an ‘off’ performance at the Games, placing eighth in the 200 and 13th in the 400. The 26-year-old rebounded well at SC Worlds, taking second in the 400 and third in the 200 free, and he also earned bronze at LC Euros back in May in the 400. He’s still a podium threat in the mid-distance frees, but the gap he appeared to have over his rivals in 2019 seems to have dissipated. No best times in long course since 2019 is a worrying sign.

#45: Chad Le Clos, South Africa – Le Clos is no longer the force he once was, but is still an exceptional talent that can’t be counted on the big stage. The South African was in the fight for a spot on the podium in the Olympic final of the 200 fly, ultimately taking fifth, and he failed to advance out of the heats in the 100 fly. Now 29, Le Clos has suggested that post-Tokyo his focus will turn away from the 200 fly and more towards the 100 freestyle, which only dampens his future prospects of medalling at the LC Worlds level. But Le Clos is still one of the best out there in the short course pool, and has been known to pull a trick or two out of his hat when the pressure is on. He’s a mainstay for Energy Standard in the ISL, and the Commonwealth Games present an opportunity for him to rack up some hardware.

#44: Matthew Sates, South Africa – The future is bright for Sates, but the crystal ball on what we can expect from him in 2022 remains a little bit hazy. Sates, who turned 18 during last summer’s Olympic Games, placed 14th in the 200 IM in Tokyo and 32nd in the 100 fly, but really announced himself as a force to be reckoned with down the line on the FINA World Cup circuit in October. The South African lowered SCM World Junior Records in the 200 free (1:40.65), 400 free (3:37.92) and 200 IM (1:51.45), beating some of the sport’s best in the process, and also put up elite times in the 100 IM (51.74) and 400 IM (4:01.98). Those efforts were expected to culminate with a big showing at the SC World Championships, but due to travel restrictions, he and South African teammate Tatjana Schoenmaker were forced to withdraw from the event. This coming year, Sates is expected to join the University of Georgia in the NCAA, but that seems to be in doubt now due to the pandemic. With the LC World Championships and Commonwealth Games on the horizon, we’ll truly get to see where Sates’ long course ability lies relative to short course. Given what we saw in October, it’s hard to ignore him as a candidate to breakthrough and challenge for medals at Worlds. His time in the 200 free in particular is one that only a handful of swimmers, ever, have been faster than, and it was almost a full second faster than what eventually won gold at SC Worlds.

#43: Nic Fink, USA – Fink is riding high after finishing the year with a flourish, sweeping the men’s breaststroke events in the ISL final (topping newly-minted 100m world record holder Ilya Shymanovich in the process) and then winning the 50 and 200 breast (and taking third in the 100) at SC Worlds. The 28-year-old also had an impressive year in long course, finishing 2021 ranked sixth in the world in the 100 breast (58.50) and seventh in the 200 breast (2:07.55), both lifetime bests. After placing fifth in Tokyo in the 200, Fink enters 2022 with a great shot at winning his first LC World Championship medal, especially as someone who’s shown a penchant for stepping up in big moments.

#42: Martin Malyutin, Russia – Not unlike Rapsys, Malyutin is a legitimate medal contender in the men’s 200 and 400 freestyle, but fell shy of expectations in Tokyo. Malyutin had a disastrous showing in the 400 free, placing 22nd while adding more than five seconds from his best time, but came back nicely in the 200, finishing fifth. The 22-year-old did sweep those two events at the European Championships a few months earlier, hitting respective best times of 1:44.79 and 3:44.18 to rank eighth in the world (in both) at the end of 2021. Malyutin is arguably the world’s best closer in the 200 and 400 free, and if he can add a bit more front-end speed to his arsenal, he’ll be in the fight for gold at LC Worlds in 2022.

#41: Alessandro Miressi, Italy – An individual Olympic medal was the one thing missing from what was an otherwise banner year for Miressi, as the Italian racked up five medals at LC Euros, two relay podiums at the Tokyo Olympics, and then closed things off by winning three golds at SC Worlds in Abu Dhabi, including an individual title in the men’s 100 freestyle. Miressi swam sub-48 in the 100 free a staggering 10 times in 2021, hitting a best of 47.45 at Euros where he was a close second to Russian Kliment Kolesnikov. In Tokyo, Miressi finished sixth in the final, but played a significant role in helping the Italians win silver in the 400 free relay and bronze in the 400 medley relay. At SC Worlds, the 23-year-old churned out a blistering time of 45.57 to win the title over American Ryan Held (45.63), and enters 2022 as a bonafide podium contender in the 100 free. The only thing that detracts from Miressi’s value is that he’s really only a premier player in one event on the international stage.

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Rafael
3 days ago

Le Clos and Rapsys are too high on this list..

And Malyutin best finisher is pretty much debatable..

Dee
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

Malyutin closes extremely fast off slow front halves, probably faster than anybody else could, but not as well when they go fast early. Scott was by far the fastest closer with a 52.8 backhalf in Tokyo.

Khachaturian
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

Wait is everybody saying high in relation to the number, like 100 being the highest or best position like 1 being the highest.

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Khachaturian
3 days ago

too high means overrated

AnEn
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

Agreed. Those two (and at least Apple, maybe also Urlando) should be ranked lower. Out of those guys i certainly wouldn’t rank Malyutin ahead of Razzetti/Marchand.

SMH
3 days ago

Urlando? hhahahah

AnEn
Reply to  SMH
3 days ago

He has the potential to be great in 3 events (200 free, 100/200 fly), but after his last year, you can’t really justify ranking him this high. Guys like Razzetti, Marchand or Sates have shown clearly more last year and (i think?) are also younger.

John
3 days ago

How does Luca Urlando rank higher than Coleman Stewart lol

Chad
Reply to  John
3 days ago

I think it’s more heavily weighted toward long course. Also, the article is speculating that he’ll rebound from his shoulder injury and return to where he was in 2019 in the 200 fly.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  John
3 days ago

Because there is a chance Urlando can medal at long course Worlds if he can rediscover 2019 form.

There is no universe in which Coleman Stewart medals long course in an individual event.

Klorn8d
3 days ago

Y’all are doubling down on the overrated Americans. I like urlando but he didn’t make the Olympics? How is a top 50 swimmer in the world

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Klorn8d
3 days ago

I feel like Urlando has more potential than some of the other overrated Americans in these rankings. Nevertheless, he probably belongs more in the 60s.

Rafael
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
3 days ago

And after his injury he did not show the same level from 2018.. and comparing to OG silver.. where Silver was slower than we Expected (Seto terrible 2021 contributed to that)

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Klorn8d
3 days ago

It took only 1:54 to medal in 200 fly in Tokyo. If Urlando is back to his 2018 form, he will have a good chance to get a medal at Worlds, although that may be a big if.

Mr Piano

Urlando’s 2018 form was 1:55.2, his 2019 season was where he pulled the 1:53.8

tea rex

I guess Urlando is ranked so high because he was faster 2 years ago??? He’s not eligible for ISL. Almost all these times were PRs set in 2021:
#92 Guy 50.9, 1:55.2, 1:44.4 fr relay <– so underrated!
#86 Julian 51.7, 1:54.7
#74 Harting 51.8, 1:54.8
#67 Wang 52.1, 1:54.4
#55 Majerski 50.9, 1:56.2
#54 Temple 50.4, 1:55.2, 48.0 fr <– so underrated!
#49 Urlando 51.6, 1:55.2

AnEn

Milak, Honda and Burdisso are also very young + there are tons of other very promising guys (Wang, Ponti, Chmielewski, Razzetti, Marchand). I think 200 fly will get faster (again).

HJones

There are plenty of guys whose PB’s would’ve medaled in the 200 FL in Tokyo. If we play the ‘what if’ game with best times, Milak, Seto, le Clos, Kenderesi, and Honda all still finish above Urlando. PB’s don’t mean anything unless you can do them when they count.

swimapologist
Reply to  Klorn8d
3 days ago

So in you’re opinion, a swimmer like Carson Foster, who was the fastest 400 IMer in the world last year, can’t be in the top 100 because he didn’t make the Olympics?

Dumb argument. A 3rd place swimmer from the US can be better than someone who made the Olympic final. They often are.

Besides, isn’t this a forward-looking ranking? The fact that he was the 3rd best American last year means that he can’t be one of the top 100 swimmers in the world next year?

Rafael
Reply to  swimapologist
3 days ago

Because the 1st and 2nd 200 flyers were amazing at OG beating Milak and the 2nd 100 flyer was a medal threat.

You guys still live in the world where 3rd if allowed would create a sweep? And top 2 will surely medal? We are not at the 80 90s anymore.

belle
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

USA finished 1-2 in two events in Tokyo – men’s 400 IM and women’s 1500 free. I could be a potential sweep in men’s 400 IM if 3rd was allowed. (And it’s the only one.)
As a reference, other nations also had 1-2 in two events – British men’s 200 free and Russian men’s 100 back.

Rafael
Reply to  belle
3 days ago

And both were pretty much unexpected.. Men 400 IM both the result and the times.. Seto swimming bad, Borodin out, among others.
On 1500 Sullivan surprised, but I expected more from Wang and poor Quadrarella was sick..

But after going out of why.. we can pretty much say it is almost impossible for any country to go favorite for 1-2 and even much harder for a 1-2-3…

Even going with 2 swimmers being favorite to medal is almost impossible now..

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

70s*

jamesjabc
Reply to  Klorn8d
3 days ago

The American bias is pretty blatant.

Mollie O’Callaghan (17 years old and rapidly improving):
Olympic 100m free leadoff: 53.08 which would have beat Weitzeil in the individual final. Also a 52.35 flying start which means she was capable of probably a 52.8 flat start.
Olympic 200m free leadoff: 1:55.11 WJR, would have been fifth in the individual final, beating Ledecky.
100m back: 58.86 at trials which would have come 7th in the individual Olympic final.
RANKED #57

Kelsia Dahlia (27 years old):
100m fly: Her PB of 56.37 from 2017 would have come 7th in the Olympic final. Her actual time at trials of 56.80 also would have come 7th.
No other Olympic events.… Read more »

Joel
Reply to  jamesjabc
3 days ago

Thank you for summarising it so well

GO CARD!
Reply to  jamesjabc
3 days ago

I guess you missed where Kelsi Dahlia broke a World Record last year. A good Wolrd Record too.

jamesjabc
Reply to  GO CARD!
3 days ago

Dahlia broke a short course world record. She’s always been good in short course. The list is apparently “heavily weighted” towards long course. Dahlia has 3 individual long course medals, all in the 100 fly: a bronze from 2017 worlds, a silver from 2018 Pan Pacs and a gold from 2015 Pan Americans.

The sum total of her long course contribution is a 100 fly that barely would have made the final, assuming she swam her PB at the Olympics.

Compare that to her short course, where she has repeatedly won various medals in the 50-200 fly. She’s great in short course, but that doesn’t translate over to long course for her.

I don’t see how you possibly rank… Read more »

swimapologist
Reply to  jamesjabc
2 days ago

Once again, y’all are misunderstanding what weighting means.

If it weren’t heavily weighted toward long course, then a World Record breaker would be in the top 10. Because it’s heavily weighted toward long course, she’s barely in the top 50.

“Heavily weighted” doesn’t mean “only thing considered.” Is this a swim fan problem or a Commonwealth problem? I can’t decide.

i was right kalisz would win
Reply to  jamesjabc
3 days ago

are you going to ignore the dahlia world record

jamesjabc
Reply to  i was right kalisz would win
2 days ago

If you read the very next comment in the thread you’ll see I addressed the short course world record. Dahlia has always performed significantly better in short course. There is nothing to suggest she has any shot at a medal at world champs.

AnEn
Reply to  jamesjabc
3 days ago

I have O’Callaghan at least as a top 20 swimmer, maybe even top 15.

Will be interesting to see the top 10/20. For me McKeown, McKeon, Titmus, Ledecky, Regan Smith, Zhang Yufei, Ohashi and Sjöstrom are locks and then the remaining 2 are 2 out of Schoenmaker/Haughey/King/Masse/Flickinger. Personally i would pick Schoenmaker (world record) and Haughey (great short-course season). After that it gets more difficult in my opinion, my remaining top 25 would be Jacoby, MacNeil, Gorbenko, O’Callaghan, Curzan, McIntosh, Oleksiak, Chikunova, Shkurdai, M. Wilson, Huske, C. Campbell. Yang Junxuan, Quadarella, Li Bingjie and a couple other women also have a case to be in the top 25.

NOT the frontman of Metallica
3 days ago

Many mention this is a forward looking ranking as a reason young americans are too highly ranked, Im fine with that even if I would place some of them lower. But by that argument Chad Le Clos is waaaayyyy too high up. Especially if he has announced a change in focus from 200 fly to 100 freestyle. Barring retirement both Fratus and Manadou has bigger medal claims in 2022 than him.

FlyNDie
3 days ago

Zach Apple way too low IMO. He helped set a WR at the Olympics, won another gold in the 4×100 free relay. He missed the 100m final in Tokyo but that’s atleast better than Urlando who didn’t even make the team.

Ryan Held = Champion
Reply to  FlyNDie
3 days ago

His spot will be taken this year by Ryan Held.

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free in Paris
Reply to  FlyNDie
3 days ago

James Guy helped set a WR at the Olympics, won another gold in the 4200 free. He pulled out of the 100 fly, but was almost a sure lock to make the final.

He’s ranked in the 90s. Honestly wherever Zach is Guy should be, but as others have stressed, there seems to be a bit of bias going on in these lists.

Rafael

If le clos swims.only 100 free he wont even make semis..and yet

Troyy
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

He’ll probably do a Pellegrini by telling everyone he’s switching to the 100 free but keep coming back to the 200 fly because of his lack of prospects in the 100 free.

Tony

Guy’s good, but Dressel smoked Guy’s 50 flat in the fly leg by almost a full second (49.03). If 50 flat is your best in a relay, forget about 49.45 in an individual fly event.

AnEn
3 days ago

My ranking of those guys:
Apple/Rapsys/Le Clos/Urlando: Between 51 and 75
Marchand/Miressi/Sates: Between 30 and 40
Razzetti: Between 20 and 25
Malyutin/Fink: Between 41 and 50

So for me Razzetti, Marchand, Miressi and Sates are underranked while Apple, Rapsys and Urlando are overranked. I agree about Malyutin and Fink.

Personally i would probably rank 10 of the following guys between 41 and 50:
Malyutin, Fink, Frolov, Ndoye Brouard, Desplanches, Kalisz, Burdisso, Djakovic, Grousset, A. Wilson, Wilby, Chupkov, Egorov, Martinenghi

HJones
Reply to  AnEn
3 days ago

Andrew Wilson retired.

AnEn
Reply to  HJones
3 days ago

Sad to hear, but i guess by 2024 he would have been too old to fight for medals, so good for him to retire with an olympic gold.

Virtus
3 days ago

Rapsys and urlando? 💀

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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