With the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials done and dusted, let’s take a look at where the best of the stars n’ stripes stand among the rest of the world with the Olympic Games in Rio scheduled to kick-off just 20 days from now. We’ll review the men’s world rankings in this piece, strictly looking at the top 5, before publishing a separate post for the women.
When looking at the top 5 in each event around the globe, Australia holds the most #1 ranked swims of the season for the men. Backstroking dynamo Mitch Larkin owns the top marks in both the 100m and 200m distances, while teenager Mack Horton holds the top seed in the 400m freestyle and “The Professor”, Cameron McEvoy, claims a #1 rank of his own in the stunner of a time he threw down in the men’s 100m freestyle at Australian Trials – 47.04.
Conversely, America has just one top-ranked swim in Cal weapon Josh Prenot‘s 200m breaststroke from Trials. His mark of 2:07.17 from Omaha was just .16 of a second off of the current World Record and sets Prenot up as a major player to top the podium in Rio.
What the United States lacks in number of #1 times, however, they make up for in #2 placements, highlighted by 31-year-old Michael Phelps‘s 200m IM and 100m butterfly outings from Trials. Cal grad Nathan Adrian sits as the 2nd-fastest swimmer in his gold medal event from 2012, the men’s 100m freestyle, while Kevin Cordes, David Plummer and Ryan Murphy also hold the world’s #2 times in the 100m breaststroke, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke, respectively.
Two notable performances that stand out within the rankings include Conor Dwyer‘s 200m freestyle time of 1:45.41 that is positioned as 3rd best in the world headed into Rio. Although within the top 5, Dwyer’s outing did not take place in Omaha, but rather in Santa Clara at an Arena Pro Swim Series stop. His time in Omaha was 1:45.67 to finish 2nd to Texas young gun Townley Haas, with both of those men’s Omaha marks sitting out of the world’s top 5.
The other eye-opening performance within the landscape of the world’s best is Pebley‘s 100m backstroke time. His 52.95 from Omaha is ranked 5th in the world but finished just 4th at Trials and, therefore, out of the competition in Rio. The fact someone can rank within the world’s top 5 yet out of the Olympic Games speaks to the immensely speedy depth in the event by the American men.
Below is a complete list of the world’s top 5 times headed into Rio for each men’s event.