U.S. National Team: Projected Athlete Funding Lists – Saunderson Clips Lochte

Earlier today, we projected the members of the 2019-2020 U.S. National Team, based on top times from the qualifying period. Now, let’s look at those who appear to be in line for USA Swimming’s athlete support stipends.

We broke down the full scope of the athlete support stipends here, but essentially, the top 26 men and top 26 women based on world ranks in their best events can earn stipends. Those with world ranks in the top 8 earn a higher level of support, while those with world ranks between 9th and 16th earn a lower level.

Swimmers beyond the top 16 in world ranks can’t earn stipends, but that’s not typically an issue. In fact, the reverse is more often true: athletes with top 16 world ranks still won’t earn stipends if their world rank is lower than 26 other Americans. This year, we have about 13 women and 6 men with world ranks inside the top 16 who won’t make the overall cut of 26 funding-earning Americans.

Top 26 Americans in Overall World Rank in Best Event

Note: the official national team isn’t selected until September 3, using the world ranks from January 1, 2019 through August 25, 2019. That means no future swims can impact these lists, but a past swim getting retroactively added to the FINA World Rankings could impact the ranks, lists and funding below.


Athlete Top World Rank Event
1 Simone Manuel 1 100 free
2 Katie Ledecky 1 800 free
3 Regan Smith 1 200 back
4 Hali Flickinger 1 200 fly
5 Lilly King 1 100 breast
6 Annie Lazor 2 200 breast
7 Katie Drabot 2 200 fly
8 Leah Smith 3 400 free
9 Olivia Smoliga 5 100 back
10 Melanie Margalis 6 200 IM
11 Ashley Twichell 6 1500 free
12 Bethany Galat 6 200 breast
13 Kathleen Baker 7 100 back
14 Emma Weyant 7 400 IM
15 Mallory Comerford 8 100 free
16 Erica Sullivan 8 1500 free
17 Lisa Bratton 8 200 back
18 Kelsi Dahlia 8 100 fly
19 Brooke Forde 8 400 IM
20 Abbey Weitzeil 9 100 free
21 Katharine Berkoff 9 100 back
22 Katie McLaughlin 10 100 fly
23 Alex Walsh 10 200 back
24 Emily Escobedo 10 200 breast
25 Madisyn Cox 10 200 IM
26 Ella Eastin 10 400 IM


Athlete Top World Rank Event
1 Caeleb Dressel 1
50 free, 100 free, 100 fly
2 Maxime Rooney 2 100 fly
3 Ryan Murphy 2 200 back
4 Jay Litherland 2 400 IM
5 Ryan Held 3 100 free
6 Luca Urlando 3 200 fly
7 Shaine Casas 5 100 back
8 Austin Katz 5 200 back
9 Charlie Swanson 5 400 IM
10 Matt Grevers 6 100 back
11 Andrew Wilson 6 100 breast
12 Chase Kalisz 6 200 IM
13 Michael Andrew 7 50 free
14 Blake Pieroni 7 100 free
15 Will Licon 7 200 breast
16 Jack Conger 7 100 fly
17 Tate Jackson 9 100 free
18 Zach Harting 9 200 fly
19 Bobby Finke 10 1500 free
20 Andrew Seliskar 10 100 fly
21 Zane Grothe 11 400 free
22 Abrahm DeVine 11 200 IM
23 Zach Apple 12 100 free
24 Jacob Pebley 12 100 back
25 Nic Fink 12 200 breast
26 Jack Saunderson 13 100 fly

For the men, Saunderson wins a tie with Ryan Lochte, who was also ranked 13th worldwide. Saunderson’s next-best world rank was 78th in the 200 fly, while Lochte’s next-best was 118th in the 100 back.

Here are the other top-16 ranked swimmers who won’t receive funding, because they are outside of the top 26 Americans:


Athlete Top World Rank Event
Kaersten Meitz 12 400 free
Isabelle Stadden 12 200 back
Lillie Nordmann 12 200 fly
Ally McHugh 13 1500 free
Phoebe Bacon 13 100 back
Breeja Larson 14 100 breast
Kendyl Stewart 14 100 fly
Amanda Kendall 14 100 fly
Allison Schmitt 16 200 free
Kensey McMahon 16 1500 free
Micah Sumrall 16 200 breast
Dakota Luther 16 200 fly
Makayla Sargent 16 400 IM


Athlete Top World Rank Event
Ryan Lochte 13 200 IM
Nathan Adrian 15 50 free
Cody Miller 15 100 breast
Carson Foster 15 400 IM
Kieran Smith 16 200 free
Justin Ress 16 100 back

These athletes could be bumped up if anyone in the top 26 earns better funding as an open water swimmer. Athletes can only accept a stipend from either pool or open water, not both.

Funding Levels

As a refresher, professional athletes earn the highest levels of funding. College and high school athletes earn lower levels based on their need to maintain amateur status for eligibility. College athletes earn a lower level during the school year (September through May) and the higher level listed over the summer (June, July, August). Athletes who sign the USA Swimming Athlete Partnership Agreement are subject to more requirements on appearances, paperwork filing, competition plans, etc., but earn the higher total listed. Athletes who don’t sign the APA earn the lower funding.

The following are monthly stipends, per USA Swimming’s document:


World Ranking 1-8 $3,244 $1000/$1750 $1,000
World Ranking 9-16 $2,163 $500/$875 $500
Non-APA Rank 1-8 $1,892
Non-APA Rank 9-16 $946

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Ross Dant Superfan 2
3 years ago

ross dant should get all the moneys

Just wondering
3 years ago

Speaking of funding and pro athletes, I have been wondering if Lily King ever signed a suit sponsorship deal. I don’t recall ever seeing anything on her going pro after she graduated.

Reply to  Just wondering
3 years ago


phelps swims 200 breast rio
3 years ago

In my opinion, if you win Nationals, you should get funding from USA Swimming. And free goggles every week. And free Uber to and from workouts so you can get extra sleep before those ungodly early morning workouts. And free In & Our burgers every Sunday… east coast swimmers are like, what? Anyway, trust me, In & Out is the bomb. C’mon, don’t tell me USA Swimming doesn’t have the money to make this happen. Just so you know, when I’m dictator, I’ll see to these changes. Rant over.

Reply to  phelps swims 200 breast rio
3 years ago

Vote for Pedro

3 years ago

Lochte doesn’t need the money.

Reply to  Hank
3 years ago

And some of the high profile, big money swimmers might turn down the money. It isn’t substantial enough to give up your likeness for USA Swimming and UsOC to use all over the place. It has happened in the past.

Running start to touch backstroke flags
3 years ago

So athletes not getting funding face immediate bankruptcy in a medical emergency because they don’t receive medical insurance?


Every athlete’s situation is different. Some athletes have other jobs that would provide them medical insurance. Some athletes are still young enough to be on their parents’ medical insurance. Others who are training as post-grads or in grad school might have access to medical insurance through their universities. It’s probable that some are uninsured.

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

The infamy of the current unhumane US healthcare system….
You spend more than twice per capita on healthcare than the average of other developed countries.
And you have the worst outcomes.
Life expectancy is low compared to other developed countries and is even declining in the last few years.
Millions are uninsured. Millions other are underinsured.
Many Americans die because they can’t afford their healthcare.
Many Americans can’t afford their medicine.
Many Americans go bankrupt due to healtcare costs just to survive.
Incredibly complicated.
So much bureaucracy and very costly for US businesses. Bad for their competitiveness against the rest of the world.

But of course it’s Bernie who is radical for decades! 😆

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
3 years ago

While much of what you said is true (if not particularly novel), keep in mind that 99% of pro swimmers who don’t have health insurance are in that position because of the choice to be a pro swimmer.

Given the college educations that almost all of them have, in addition to the advantageous upbringings that is implicit to most (but not all) of our elite swimmers, they almost all have the opportunity to choose a different career path that would bring them health insurance.

In other words: the problems that you speak of, where people are going bankrupt to survive because of healthcare, are probably not as interwoven with the problems of these pro swimmers not getting health insurance from… Read more »

Brad Cooper
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Swimming may be a middle/upper class sport, but comfortable circumstances shouldn’t disqualify athletes from current entitlements.

But then, government stipends are a recent socialist expectation, just a few decades after we amateurs in the west criticised 1970’s communist bloc countries for supporting athletes with token careers in the military and international travel denied to their own countrymen.

If our economy ever tanks, athlete assistance might disappear and we’ll all be amateurs again unless swimming can pitch itself as a genuine professional form of entertainment with parochial fan support.

Even in good times, swimming might not maintain its current pro momentum unless changes are made to its complacent clinical race environment. Mixed gender relays may sound radical show-biz to some, but… Read more »

Scott Stubblefield
3 years ago

The funding SUCKS. Glad Seth is out of the sport and nearly done with medical school -‘$3500/month won’t come close to paying Berkeley rent and related bills. Nothing left to live on. It was fun at the time but there is life after swimming!!! Best of luck to Ryan Murphy, Will Licon, Madisyn Cox, and the rest of the Cal Bears in the 2020 trials! Love you all. Wish US swimming loved you more. Raise the funding you greedy people.

3 years ago

What if a high school student has decided to go pro and forgo their amateur status. Would they still be capped at the lower amount? I understand that this rarely happens if ever, but I am just curious. Does not seem very fair if it is so.

3 years ago

Bit of a shock to see only one US male with a #1 World Ranking.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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