SwimSwam’s Top 100 For 2024: Women’s #50-41

After the record-setting year that was 2023, we’re gearing up for another exciting year over here at SwimSwam, and part of that is releasing our fourth annual Top 100 list—check out last year’s rankings here.

Similar to 2023, we’ve taken a statistically driven approach reliant primarily upon world rankings and World Championship medals. We’ve also taken into account things such as potential, Olympic medal opportunities, injuries, and versatility. Long course is weighted more than short course, though performance potential in both formats is factored in.

We’ve also moved Russian and Belarusian swimmers way down this list because of their likely absence from the Olympics or either World Championship meet. While that doesn’t preclude them from swimming fast at domestic meets (including whatever Russia comes up with to replace the Olympics), those swims just won’t mean quite as much without the international spotlight.

We’ll be breaking down the top 100 into multiple installments, so keep an eye out as they’re released.

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

Braden Keith, Sophie Kaufman, Anya Pelshaw and Mark Wild contributed to this report.

Women’s Rankings:

#50: Kaitlyn Dobler, USA – Dobler may be one of the most affected Americans by the two-swimmer-per-country rule. After swimming a personal best at the 2023 U.S. Nationals (1:05.48), but failing to break through the Lilly King/Lydia Jacoby show, Dobler had to settle to swim at the inaugural LEN U23 meet, where she finished 2nd in the 100 (1:06.70), just .01 behind the winner. Dobler can certainly final and even medal at the Olympics (her 1:05.48 was #5 in the world last year and would have won silver), but first, she’ll need to qualify for the U.S. team.

#49: Phoebe Bacon, USA – Bacon finds herself right in the thick of the stacked women’s backstroke field in the United States, but after placing 5th at the Tokyo Olympics in the 200 back and following up with a silver medal at the World Championships in 2022, she failed to make the Fukuoka team, falling to 5th at U.S. Nationals in June. Her time of 2:06.59 would’ve won a medal at Worlds, but due to the depth of American backstroke, Bacon, like many others, will need to swim lights out at Trials in 2024 to qualify for Paris. Whoever nabs the second U.S. spot behind Regan Smith will be the favorite for bronze at the Olympics, a position Bacon could very well grab if she’s on the 2:05 form she showed in 2022.

#48: Kasia Wasick, Poland – Wasick and the 50 free are synonymous. The Polish record holder across the 50 and 100 free is known for out-and-out sprinting ability. The 2022 Worlds silver medalist in the 50 (24.18) failed to advance out of the semifinals, finishing just 12th (24.72) in Fukuoka, but has already bested that time this season by swimming 24.18 in Rotterdam and 24.31 just recently in Knoxville. Despite the fact she’ll turn 32 in late March, she’s been able to continuously swim at a high level and improve. By focusing on the 50 alone, Wasick has all of her eggs in one basket. Making the Olympic final is certainly within grasp, especially based on her times this season, and 24.o or 24.1 probably makes the podium. Will the move to SMU pay off for her? The signs are good so far.

#47: Rhyan White, USA – Similar to many other Americans on this list, White broke through with a big showing at the 2021 Olympic Trials and ultimately the Tokyo Games, placing 4th in both the 100 and 200 back. After winning bronze in the 200 back at the 2022 World Championships, she made it through the gauntlet that is U.S. women’s backstroke yet again at the 2023 Nationals, qualifying for the 200 back (2:05.77) but falling off form in Fukuoka (2:08.43 for 6th). She finds herself in the unenviable position of being the 2nd fastest American in the 200 back in 2023, a highly coveted spot in 2024 for what will be a vicious Olympic Trials event. With Regan Smith, a healthy Claire Curzan, a rapidly rising Kennedy Noble and Phoebe Bacon, White will have her work cut out for her to get her hand on the wall first or second yet again, but she’s proven she can get it done.

#46: Katie Shanahan, Great Britain – Shanahan finished 4th at the World Championships last year in the 200 back with a best time of 2:07.45. What makes her ranking a little tricky is that the time only ranked her 12th in the world in 2023, but at least three of the women ahead of her are Americans who won’t make the Olympic team in this event. Having only turned 19 at the start of the 2023 World Championships, Shanahan also took 7th in the 400 IM in Fukuoka after swimming a PB of 4:36.74 at British Trials, and she was among the swimmers DQed in the semis of the 200 IM (after recording a time fast enough for the final, though she was called for a false start). She went 2:09.40 at Trials to rank 13th in the world in the 200 IM, and her 400 IM clocking stood 11th. The Scottish native likely has three individual finals and an outside shot at a medal in Paris. She won’t be a part of the stacked British roster heading to Doha, however.

#45: Anastasiia Kirpichnikova, France – Kirpichnikova switched sporting nationalities and was instantly rewarded with not only a new French National Record but also with a new personal best in the 1500. Kirpichnikova’s time of 15:48.53 was good for 4th in Fukuoka and less than three seconds shy of the medals. The Frenchwoman also contested the 800, finishing 9th, as well as the 5 and 10km open water events. With a focus on a home Olympics, Kirpichnikova will look to improve upon that 4th place in the 1500 and to make the final in the 800.

#44: Bella Sims, USA – Sims’ versatility and talent were on display at the 2021 Olympic Trials, having qualified for 11 events. A few months after her 16th birthday, Sims made the Olympic team and won a silver medal swimming the prelims of the 4×200 free, a relay that she would end up anchoring to a gold medal at the 2022 Worlds. This past summer, she added another silver medal in the relay, as well as a 6th-place finish in the 200 free and an 8th-place showing in the 400 free. With an eye to the future and ruefully glancing over what is bound to be an exciting NCAAs, Sims certainly has the ability to final again at the Olympics and will be a key component of the US’s 4×200 free relay. It will be interesting to see if her versatility in short course translates over in LC, specifically in the 400 IM.

#43: Kylie Masse, Canada – Masse has been a mainstay on podiums in women’s backstroke since 2016. Displaying a staggering consistency, she won an individual medal at every international meet she attended from Rio to the 2022 SC Worlds in Melbourne, but that streak came to a halt in Fukuoka (though she did win a relay medal). Masse was a little off this past summer, finishing 4th in the 50 back (27.28) and 100 back (59.09) and 5th in the 200 back (2:07.52), but had a good World Cup run this past fall and should easily qualify for the finals at the Olympics if she can maintain her form. The 28-year-old has been so consistent in going sub-59 in the 100 back that a medal is very well within reach, but she will need to be in the 58-lows (rather than the 58-highs she was producing last year) to get on a third straight Olympic podium.

#42: Mio Narita, Japan – In any other era, the world would have both eyes focused on the Japanese 17-year-old who was the double World Junior champion in the 200 and 400 IM in 2022 and set a World Junior Record in the 400 IM that year. But then Canadian Summer McIntosh, the same age, came along and broke the senior world record. Narita took a step back in 2023, but she did accrue some international experience—racing on home soil no less—by making the 400 IM final in Fukuoka and earning a semi-final swim in the 200 IM. Narita has been 4:36 in the 400 IM for two straight years, and given her age and talent base, it seems as though a drop is imminent.

#41: Cate Campbell, Australia – Campbell’s position on this list is always going to be a lightning rod for discussion. After opting to withdraw from the 2023 Australian World Trials, Campbell had a strong showing in the fall at the World Cup, clocking 24.10 in the 50 free and 53.26 in the 100 free. Those times would have easily qualified for the final at Worlds (24.10 would have tied for silver in the 50). Campbell’s problem in 2024 is not unique to her as with any Aussie sprinter, making the team may be more difficult than making an Olympic final, as the Australian women walked away from Fukuoka with a gold medal and world record in the 4×100 free relay as well as qualifying two swimmers into both the 50 and 100 finals. An individual spot in the 100 free is a longshot given Shayna Jack‘s rise to couple with Mollie O’Callaghan‘s dominance, but with Emma McKeon‘s injury concerns, there’s an opening for Campbell in the 50.

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Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

With Cate at #41 I’m assuming we won’t see Bronte now

Boomer
Reply to  Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

Which is a pity as she has a solid chance of making the 4×100

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

idk she has been topping her recently

Swimpop
2 months ago

Thought it was funny about Dobler being affected by the two swimmer rule in the same story as Bacon and White.

Yikes
2 months ago

I would love to be a fly on the wall while the swim swam team makes this list and hear everyone’s arguments about who goes where.

DK99
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago

Great opportunity for some content, would love to see a staff zoom call when deciding these things, maybe for the top 30

Sub13
2 months ago

Oh interesting.

I think Cate’s ranking is mostly fair. Individual medal shot in the 50 free only but may not make the team. Likely gold in the 100 free relay and potential for a heat medal in the medley/mixed medley. 40 is probably about right but I suspect there will be people ranked above her with less chances than that. Curzan comes to mind, assuming she’ll be ranked in the 30s, and is pretty much in a similar boat.

Surprised to see Sims ranked lower than last year when her times are better. Although she was massively over ranked last year considering she’d never qualified individually for anything.

I can clearly see the top 20 in my mind but… Read more »

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Pallister probably belongs in the 21-40.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Yes absolutely. I completely gave up because I couldn’t remember who had been already picked.

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

It’s easier to see who’s in the right or wrong place or who’s missing that shouldn’t be after the whole list has been done.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

Yea absolutely

ooo
2 months ago

Wasick undervalued in my view. True that the 50 is a hit and miss story.

Sub13
Reply to  ooo
2 months ago

I agree. On the one hand, she only has a medal shot in 1 event, and that event has a clear gold winner, and she has no relay potential. To be fair, that does seem like it should land you around the 40s.

In saying that, she’s ranked right next to Bacon, who is in the same boat, but has way less chance of qualifying for the team at all.

I feel like Wasick should be higher but also there isn’t anyone currently above her that I feel is clearly inferior to her.

Binky
2 months ago

I’m all in on Dobler making the team. She is taking control of her training, and getting periodic quality sessions in with her club coach in Oregon.

Yikes
Reply to  Binky
2 months ago

I agree. Jacoby (and even King to a degree) is all over the place with her consistency and I would love for someone more reliable to make it!

Pescatarian
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago

Neither King nor Jacoby were particularly sharp last summer at worlds.

Sub13
Reply to  Binky
2 months ago

Who does Dobler make the team over? If we assume Douglass/King for the 200, does King miss the 100 or does Jacoby miss altogether?

Swimz
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Since 2019 , king could not shine in the big stage, Jacoby won at tokyo and was on podium at fukuoka over king. Even in 2022, where jacoby wasn’t, Lazor made through to the final and later DQ for a kick. Then only 9th place King got a spot in finale..so, it is hight time to Dobler to make the team..Jacoby will win the trails..

Noah
2 months ago

Surprised Rhyan’s washed self is top 50 😂

Pescatarian
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

Don’t ever count out Ms. White!

Konner Scott
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

Every time I think Rhyan is washed, she surprises me… so I’m not ready to make that call yet.

Yikes
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

I mean. She made the world’s team in what could reasonably be labeled the most difficult and competitive event for the US women. She laid an egg at World’s but was far from the only one to do that.

Noah
Reply to  Yikes
2 months ago

Idec if she’s washed I just hate her

Swimmer
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

Why would you write something so personal? If you actually know her, deal with whatever issues you have in person, not on a public forum. If you don’t know her, you can’t possibly hate her.

Noah
Reply to  Swimmer
2 months ago

Swimtwt SAVE ME 💔

jeff
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

what’s the tea

Eli
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

What the hell

Pescatarian
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

Always a lampshade clown…

Sub13
Reply to  Noah
2 months ago

Just for context for the people confused by this: it’s very trendy on Twitter to hate Rhyan White for the anti-trans comments she’s made. Seems like this person is a heavy twitterer.

Jess
2 months ago

Emma, Mollie, Shayna, Cate, Meg and Bronte is my prediction.

Not in that particular order.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jess
Admin
Reply to  Jess
2 months ago

We want the order 🙂

Jess
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Yuck. Mollie, Emma, Shayna, Cate, Meg then Bronte is the order at trials. Come Olympics, Meg outsplits Cate in Prelims but all swim sub 53 splits.

Possible controversy would be if this happens, Cate is still kept for the finals squad over Meg.

Sub13
Reply to  Jess
2 months ago

Oooooh this is good. Cate is a relay Titan. In saying that, her splits in Tokyo weren’t her best and were essentially identical to Meg in Fukuoka. Does seem that MOC/Jack/McKeon are very likely for the finals relay and the last spot will be a toss up between Cate and Meg.

commonwombat
Reply to  Jess
2 months ago

Unless C1 has rediscovered that sub52 ‘magic’ that she seemingly had on-call 2013-2019; I’m sceptical that she makes the finals quartet unless:

  • there is a rear drop-off in standard from positions 3-6 at AUS Trials be that due to illness/injury to certain members or just a lower quality race.
  • following on from Trials, someone is ruled out due to illness/injury

She WAS the undisputed no1 performer for the period 2013-2019 but one cannot help thinking even watching Tokyo that her peak window may have ticked over when Tokyo was postponed for 12 months. Don’t get me wrong; she was still mighty in Tokyo and she would still walk onto every other relay squad in the world but at… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  commonwombat
2 months ago

I would’ve said the same until she ripped that 50. I still wouldn’t put money on it but I’m less skeptical than I was.

Boomer
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

MOC, Jack, McKeon, Harris, Bronte, Cate

Troyy
Reply to  Boomer
2 months ago

This is my order.

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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