The Male Swimmers With The Fastest Four-Stroke 400 IM Add-Ups

Following up on the women’s article, it’s now time to take a look at the male swimmers with the fastest four-stroke add-up across the 100 fly, back, breast and free in long course meters.

Being elite in the 200 IM is not necessarily a prerequisite for being at the top of this list, but it is the case for the vast majority of swimmers.

In the women’s rankings, we saw the top five all hold some elite 200 IM pedigree, including world record holder Katinka Hosszu, #3 all-time Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and reigning world champion Kate Douglass holding spots 3-5, with 2022 World Championship silver medalist Kaylee McKeown and two-time European champion Anastasia Gorbenko ranking 1-2.

On the men’s side, things are a little more sprint-oriented, with two swimmers in the top four who have never seriously raced the 200 IM in major international competition. Additionally, four of the top five are American swimmers.

Taking the top spot, largely due to his elite breaststroke time, is Michael Andrew, who is the only swimmer to have made the World Championship final of all four stroke 50s (2019) and win a medal in three of them (2022).

He hasn’t found the same level of success over the 100-meter distance, but there’s been more than enough for him to rank #1 in this instance, led by his 58.14 100 breast PB that ranks #4 all-time and makes him the only swimmer inside the top 20 who is sub-1:00.

Andrew is also the third-fastest swimmer in the top 20 in the 100 fly (50.80) and near the top of the heap with a sound 53.40 100 back, with his final time coming out at 3:31.80.

Ranking #2, who many may have predicted would be #1, is the GOAT Michael Phelps, who is second-fastest in both the 100 fly (49.82) and 100 free (47.51), both only trailing Caeleb Dressel, who slots in at fourth.

Phelps’ final time is 3:32.88, while Dressel’s is 3:33.43, coming in behind the lone non-American in the top five, Thomas Ceccon.

Ceccon and Dressel are the two highly-ranked swimmers who don’t race the 200 IM frequently, but they’re both incredible elite in at least two strokes and cover their “weak” ones relatively well—Ceccon’s worst is breast, where he’s 1:02.51, while Dressel is 55.80 on back.

Of course, it helps that Ceccon holds the world record in the 100 back and Dressel holds the world record in the 100 fly and is within a tenth of it in the 100 free.

Rounding out the top five is Ryan Lochte, which is no surprise as he’s incredibly well-versed in all four strokes and is only hindered by the fact he focused on 200s (and the 400 IM) during his career.

Andrew, Phelps, Ceccon and Dressel are in a league of their own, all sub-3:33.5, while Lochte follows at 3:35.20 and then the next-fastest, Hugo Gonzalez, is another two seconds back.

The world’s greatest medley swimmer at present, Leon Marchand, finds himself on the outside looking in for the top 20, largely due to the fact he hasn’t raced any of the 100s seriously in long course meters since his emergence in recent years.

Matthew Jensen (3:40.21), Yakov Toumarkin (3:40.21), Jeremy Stravius (3:40.31), Will Modglin (3:40.65), Philip Heintz (3:40.70), Marchand (3:41.03) and Sam Stewart (3:41.15) were among the initial top 20 list published before reader input helped us find some missing names, bumping them out.

If you find a swimmer who is fast enough to have made the top 20 but is missing, let us know in the comments below.

MEN’S TOP 20 – 400 IM ADD-UP

Rank Swimmer Fly Back Breast Free Total
1 Michael Andrew (USA) 50.80 53.40 58.14 49.46 3:31.80
2 Michael Phelps (USA) 49.82 53.01 1:02.54 47.51 3:32.88
3 Thomas Ceccon (ITA) 51.38 51.60 1:02.51 47.71 3:33.20
4 Caeleb Dressel (USA) 49.45 55.80 1:01.22 46.96 3:33.43
5 Ryan Lochte (USA) 51.48 53.37 1:02.19 48.16 3:35.20
6 Daiya Seto (JPN) 51.89 53.98 59.79 50.34 3:36.00
7 Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 52.11 52.78 1:03.33 48.75 3:36.97
8 Wang Shun (CHN) 52.83 53.87 1:01.52 48.81 3:37.03
9 Hugo Gonzalez (ESP) 52.14 52.78 1:02.37 49.91 3:37.20
10 Matt Grevers (USA) 52.10 52.08 1:04.77 48.27 3:37.22
11 Andrew Seliskar (USA) 51.34 56.31 1:01.19 48.80 3:37.64
12 Thiago Pereira (BRA) 52.23 54.38 1:02.02 50.61 3:38.27
13 Finlay Knox (CAN) 51.86 55.96 1:01.29 49.23 3:38.34
14 Jeremy Desplanches (SUI) 52.28 55.85 1:00.29 50.25 3:38.67
15 Tomoe Hvas (NOR) 52.22 54.93 1:01.31 50.46 3:38.92
16 Kenneth To (AUS) 52.56 56.31 1:01.68 48.58 3:39.13
17 Liam Tancock (GBR) 53.91 52.73 1:03.98 48.76 3:39.38
18 Duncan Scott (GBR) 52.25 55.98 1:03.60 47.87 3:39.70
19 Laszlo Cseh (HUN) 50.86 53.40 1:05.38 50.24 3:39.88
20 Joe Litchfield (GBR) 52.86 53.75 1:04.66 48.85 3:40.12

Other Notable Swimmers:

  • Narrowly missing out on the top 20 were Chad Le Clos (3:41.21), Alberto Razzetti (3:41.37), Henrique Rodrigues (3:41.75) and Shaine Casas (3:41.76). Casas is 2:31.14 before BR, but his 1:10.62 100 breast time drags him down.
  • Others sub-3:45 with poor breaststroke times include Hubert Kos (1:08.51), Florent Manaudou (1:07.31) and Ryan Murphy (1:12.26).
  • American Neil Walker (2:35.89) was also extremely elite across fly, back and free but was missing a 100 breast swim.
  • Vladimir Morozov comes out at 3:42.75 despite owning a best time of 57.65 in the 100 fly, the second-slowest of any swimmer researched, still coming within a second and a half of the top 20. Morozov is 53.7 on back, 1:03.7 on breast and 47.6 on free.
  • Germany’s Markus Deibler, the 2014 short course world champion in the 100 IM, was the most competitive swimmer with a relatively poor backstroke time, as he was 58.70 on BK but still came out at 3:43.48. Deibler was 53.7 on fly, 1:02.2 on breast and 48.7 on free.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

The long torso and relatively short limbs combination put swimmers at a natural disadvantage for freestyle breathing. I grew up training in an Asian country and coaches would observe whether swimmers of this body type swim breast or fly better to specialize them earlier. Myself at 6 feet, according to a tailor who makes suits, has the legs of a normal 5 foot 7 person and the torso of a 6 foot 3 person. Swims freestyle like MA. Similar 50 to 100 free ratio.

Last edited 2 months ago by Will37
2 months ago

Ah the outcome of this four stroke 400 add up proves this exercise is indeed pointless.

Reply to  Skip
2 months ago

A 4 stroke 100 add up is usually more indicative of 200IM skill, the 4 stroke 200 add up is usually better for a 400IM.

But there are certainly swimmers who have great 100s or 200s but are useless at the 200 or 400IM

2 months ago

You missed out Wang Shun, his timing of 52.83 + 53.87 + 1:01.52 + 48.81 = 3:37.03 would have ranked him no.8 in this list

2 months ago

I don’t know if he has a faster time, but in 2007, Thiago Pereira did 49.77 in 100 free. Way faster than 50.61 in your ranking.

PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
2 months ago

Good on whoever cleaned up the data for the Japanese swimmers.

2 months ago

I’d love to see rankings along the line of “largest distance in world rankings between best and second best event” for lack of a better phrasing/explanation.

A lot of athletes can be considered as Olympic qualifiers in multiple events, whether it be within their home country or just in general. It would be interesting to come up with a list of athletes that essentially defines them as “one-trick ponies”. Thoughts? Because even most 50 freestyle specialists have a decent 100 freestyle or 50 stroke, if you’ll count the latter.

1650 Onetrick
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
2 months ago

I’ve done something like this before. You might like how I did it

I converted every event a swimmer has on record to FINA points. Then I divided every event’s FINA point value by their highest one, so the list of all their event’s FINA points becomes a list of values from 0 to 1 with max value 1.

Then you add up all these proportions. More variable swimmers have a higher score, since more events will have closer scores to the highest, while less variable swimmers have a lower score. The lowest theoretical score is a score of 0 in every event but 1, adding up to 1, which would essentially be a “one trick pony,” so I… Read more »

2 months ago

MA’s 100 free must be faster. The average difference between fly and free of top10 is almost 4 seconds while MA is less than 1.5 seconds

Reply to  David
2 months ago

Everyone has an event that “must be faster” like Phelps 100 breast or Dressel 100 back

Paul Windrath
2 months ago

It would be also interesting to create a power point list based on their times vs world/american records. Then, Gary Hall and Mark Spitz can figure into the equation.

Reply to  Paul Windrath
2 months ago

That would be cool, but the likelihood of being able to pull complete data far enough back to make that list happen is somewhere between slim-and-none.

Swimming historically has done a remarkably poor job of record keeping.

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 …

Read More »