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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1 year ago

Why fund pros better and HS/college swimmers (who need funding more) worse?

Reply to  Swimmomtoo
1 year ago

Sorry Luca, but you have to maintain NCAA eligibility ….

Reply to  Swimmomtoo
1 year ago

Highschool athletes are definitely being taken care of by their parents, and to some extent so are the college swimmers (the ones on this list are most likely getting full scholarships anyway) where as the pros can’t maintain any decent full time job and still swim, so yes they need the money more. That’s also less than $40,000 a year if they’re top 8 in the world which can be less than average starting salary out of college (depending on where you’re getting the job). Being a professional athlete is a full time job, and i’d find it very hard to believe anyone could maintain this status and make money elsewhere.

1 year ago

Happy for Saunderson. Young kid from Towson needs the money way more than Lochte, who, even in the wake of Rio, still makes a comfortable living. Best situation all around to come from the tie.

Reply to  leisurely1:29
1 year ago

As long as he doesn’t film “What Would Jack Saunderson Do?”

Reply to  Well
1 year ago

Or go on Big Brother

1 year ago

For some of the pros this could be career ending due to lack of funding.

Reply to  bobbyv
1 year ago

Agree but that is how it goes. If you are a pro athlete, you get paid for performance If you don’t perform, then no money. Still 52 get funding so they performed!

Reply to  Superfan
1 year ago

Not really. To say those that got bumped didn’t perform is a stretch. They are all still top 16 in the world. It’s sad that USA Swimming can’t fund USA Natl Team members to this end. Top 16 in the world is still worthy of a stipend in any sport. Some of these swimmers are even ranked 3rd or 4th in the US and still don’t get funding? With scholarships scarce and funding at the top level even more miniscule, not much incentive (financial) to compete in an otherwise relatively expensive sport.

The Kraken
Reply to  bobbyv
1 year ago

With all of the money available for the pro swim series, you’d think they could divert a bit of that into maintaining the US’s depth.

Reply to  bobbyv
1 year ago

So 26 female and 26 male gymnasts get funded by their national body? 26 female basketball players? 26 volleyball? 26 track? Tennis? Divers? Check out their funding policies. I think USA Swimming funds plenty of swimmers. Many of those swimmers could have gone to Nationals or World Cup to get a better ranking but chose not to….

Reply to  Superfan
1 year ago

An Olympic squad for basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, tennis, or diving is much smaller than it is for swimming. For example, U.S. Men’s gymnastics has 12 men on the senior national team while the Olympic squad only consists of 5. You are comparing apples and oranges.

Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

Being on the National team for let’s say diving doesn’t mean they are getting much funding. Ask a diver who went to Worlds how much their monthly funding is from the federation? I know it is like $500 per month!

Reply to  bobbyv
1 year ago

USA Swimming has to pay the four pages of staff listed in the 2019 Rule Book. Serving the membership is a foreign concept to them.

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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