By James Sutherland on SwimSwam
After the action-packed year that was 2022, we’re gearing up for another exciting year over here at SwimSwam, and part of that is releasing our third annual Top 100 list—check out last year’s rankings here.
We’ve taken a more statistically-driven approach this year, while also taking into account things such as potential, World Championship medal opportunities, injuries, and versatility. Long course is weighted more than short course, though performance potential in both formats is taken into account.
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.
#100 – #76
#75 – #51
#50 – #41
#40 – #31
#30 – #21
#20 – #11
#10 – #1
#100: Ella Jansen, Canada – Jansen may not be a household name as of yet, but the promise the 17-year-old Canadian showed last year tells us she’s well on her way to making a significant impact on the international stage. Jansen finished fifth in the women’s 400 IM (4:40.17) and seventh in the 400 free (4:10.69) at the Commonwealth Games, and then after a solid showing at Junior Pan Pacs, really exploded at the Ontario Junior International meet in December. Racing in short course meters, Jansen fired off times of 1:53.3 in the 200 free, 4:02.6 in the 400 free, 8:16.3 in the 800 free and 4:29.7 in the 400 IM, showing that she’s rapidly on the rise and one to watch this year.
#99: Mary-Sophie Harvey, Canada – Another Canadian, Harvey continued to put her versatility on display throughout 2022, making the final of the women’s 200 IM at the World Championships and posting the sixth-fastest time of the year in the event (2:10.22). The 23-year-old also swam her fastest 200 free since 2017 leading off Canada’s preliminary 800 free relay at Worlds (1:57.94), ultimately winning a bronze medal, and she added finals berths in the 100 back and 200 IM at the Commonwealth Games and the 100 IM at Short Course Worlds. Harvey has also proven to be a top ISL performer in seasons past, though she didn’t have the opportunity to put those abilities on display last year. We don’t know if that will come in 2023, but she’ll be a key player if it does.
#98: Helena Bach, Denmark – Bach followed up a silver medal victory in the women’s 200 fly at the 2021 European Short Course Championships by finishing in the same position at the 2022 LC Euros. The 22-year-old reset the Danish Record in a time of 2:07.30, ranking her 11th in the world for 2022, and she was also a 200 fly finalist at the LC World Championships (seventh). She then finished less than half a second off a medal in the 200 fly at SC Worlds, setting another Danish Record in 2:04.41, and she’s also strong in the 100 fly (57.1 SC, 58.8 LC) and has versatility in freestyle. As a Dane, Bach leapfrogs a few swimmers with similar 200 fly potential due to a lack of domestic competition giving her a clear path to a meet like the World Championships.
#97: Maria Kameneva, Russia – Although it feels like she’s been around for quite some time, Kameneva is still just 23, and was on a tear last year in short course, tying the European Record in the 50 back (25.60) while also resetting Russian Records in the 50 free (23.35), 100 free (51.79) and 100 back (55.83). She’s in the upper echelon of all four events in long course as well, and given the opportunity, would conceivably vie for berths in the world final. In SC, she’s in the running for a European title or two in 2023.
#96: Kotryna Teterevkova, Lithuania – The 20-year-old Teterevkova was one of just seven women to break 2:23 in the 200 breast last year, and she showed poise on the big stage by placing fifth in the event at the World Championships and then claiming bronze at the European Championships. She’s also in the mix to be a world finalist in the 100 breast, having been 1:06.7 or better four times in 2022.
#95: Erica Sullivan, USA – After winning Olympic silver in the women’s 1500 free in Tokyo, Sullivan has yet to return to the international stage for the United States, being forced to miss the International Team Trials last year due to a shoulder injury. She came back and raced at Summer Nationals, placing fourth in both the 800 free (8:34.37) and 1500 free (16:26.90), but her window to represent the U.S. at major international meets may have passed due to the emergence of fellow Sandpiper of Nevada product Katie Grimes.
#94: Arianna Castiglioni, Italy – Castiglioni was one of just six women sub-30 in the 50 breast in 2022, but her time as an international medal contender seems to be fading. The 25-year-old was Italy’s third-fastest 100 breaststroker last year (13th in the world), and given the combination of star power (King, Meilutyte) and up-and-coming youngsters (Pilato, van Niekerk), she needs the stars to align to find success at the highest level.
#93: Kelsey Wog, Canada – Wog has been a little up and down over the course of her career representing Canada, but when’s on, she’s capable of being one of the world’s best 200 breaststrokers and a top-eight contender in the 100 breast and 200 IM. Wog, 24, took fourth in the 200 breast at the 2022 World Championships and is within range of being Canada’s top representative in the 100 breast (1:06.4 best time) and 200 IM (2:10.2 best time), but her lack of consistency brings her stock down. She showed increased versatility by swimming a prelim leg on the silver medal-winning 800 free relay for Canada at SC Worlds.
#92: Katie Shanahan, Great Britain – The 18-year-old Shanahan won some major international hardware in 2022, earning a pair of bronze medals in the women’s 200 back (2:09.22) and 400 IM (4:39.37) at the Commonwealth Games, and then claimed silver in the 200 back at the European Championships. The Scottish native has yet to race at an Olympics or Long Course World Championships, but with the international experience she picked up last year, 2023 figures to be when she’ll make an impact on the sport’s biggest stage.
#91: Jamie Perkins, Australia – Perkins, who will turn 18 later in January, figures to be the next great Australian freestyler. She won a trio of silver medals last summer at Junior Pacs in the girls’ 200 free (1:57.34), 400 free (4:06.64) and 800 free (8:30.44), showing significant time drops from 2021. Given that improvement curve, and the depth of Australian women’s freestyle, Perkins could very well slide onto an Aussie 800 free prelim relay this year and maybe swim her way onto the ‘A’ team, and she’s one big drop away from challenging for an individual spot behind Titmus in the 400 free.
#90: Isabelle Stadden, USA – There’s one thing holding Stadden back from being ranked considerably higher on this list, and that’s the U.S. depth in her best event, the 200 back. The 20-year-old ranked seventh in the world last year in the event, but was fourth among Americans and more than two seconds behind the third-fastest U.S. swimmer, Regan Smith. Stadden also owns a sub-59 best time in the LCM 100 back, but probably fell a little shy of expectations at Short Course Worlds, placing eighth in the 100 back and ninth in the 200 back after winning bronze in the latter in 2021.
#89: Mary-Ambre Moluh, France – Moluh has now been sub-28 in the long course 50 back 11 different times, a staggering statistic considering she only turned 17 this past September. The French native won the event at Euro Juniors, was a finalist at the European Championships, and got some more international experience under her belt by making the semis at SC Worlds. Moluh also became a sub-1:00 100 backstroker (59.67) in 2022, a considerable drop after coming into the year with a PB of 1:00.93. Look for her to begin vying for major international medals in the 50, and maybe even the 100, as soon as this year.
#88: Imogen Clark, Great Britain – Clark has been one of the world’s best in the 50 breast for several years now, and is coming off of ranking sixth in LC with her silver medal-winning 30.02 from the Commonwealth Games. The 23-year-old Brit also won bronze at Euros and was sixth at SC Worlds, but she has yet to truly develop a second high-level event. Clark was 14th at SC Worlds in the 100 breast and her LC best time of 1:07.58 has been on the books since 2017.
#87: Brianna Throssell, Australia – At 26, Throssell had an impressive 2022 that was headlined by lifetime best times in the 200 free (1:56.34) and 100 fly (56.96), qualifying to swim as a prelim member on the Aussie 800 free relay at the World Championships in the former and making the individual final and placing sixth in the latter. Although her days of 2:06s in the 200 fly may have come and gone, she remained a factor in the event by winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2:08.32. The Aussie native finished the year ranked ninth, 15th and 17th worldwide in the 100 fly, 200 free and 200 fly, respectively.
#86: Leah Neale, Australia – Neale has both benefitted and been hampered by the incredible depth Australia has in the women’s freestyle events, as she’s consistently racking up international relay medals while also not getting the opportunity to compete for them individually. That changed at last month’s Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, as the 27-year-old placed sixth in the women’s 200 free (1:52.84)—less than six-tenths shy of a medal—and eighth in the 400 free. Neale’s long course year included clocking 1:56.10 in the 200 free and a PB of 4:04.97 in the 400 free, ranking 11th in the world in both, while also winning three relay medals (two gold) at the World Championships.
#85: Beryl Gastaldello, France – Despite her vast success in short course meters over the last few years, Gastaldello’s long course breakout just hasn’t happened, and at least for the time being, she isn’t a medal contender in the big pool. Nonetheless, she’s a massive force in SC, coming off of winning silver in the women’s 100 IM, splitting 23.00 on France’s world record-setting mixed 200 free relay, and making two other finals in the 100 free (seventh) and 50 fly (fourth) at the Short Course World Championships. While we figure a lot of her focus will be geared towards qualifying for Paris 2024 over the next year and a half (she’s also back training in France), Gastaldello will have plenty of medal opportunities come her way at SC Euros.
#84: Maaike de Waard, Netherlands – Two of de Waard’s longtime relay teammates, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Femke Heemskerk, have retired in the last 13 months or so, but she’s shown no signs of slowing down. de Waard, 26, is coming off an impressive year that included winning two individual medals in the women’s 50 back (27.54) and 50 fly (25.62) at the European Championships, and she also had three top-10 finishes at Worlds in the 50 back, 100 back and 50 fly. She managed lifetime bests in all of her primary events despite being considered a veteran in the sport, and was solid at SC Worlds with a trio of individual finals appearances and swift relay splits.
#83: Sara Junevik, Sweden – Junevik came a little bit out of nowhere to drop the third-fastest women’s 50 butterfly split of all-time on Sweden’s 200 medley relay at the Short Course World Championships, delivering a 24.06 leg to help the Swedes come within .08 of the world record-setting and gold medal-winning Australians. The 22-year-old is clearly a 50 fly specialist—she won the event at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and was the silver medalist at the 2017 World Juniors—but has shown flashes of promise in the 100-meter distance and the sprint free events as well. She was ninth in the 50 fly at the LC World Championships and then would’ve been a medal contender at Euros, but ended up being the third-fastest Swede (and fourth overall) in the prelims and thus eliminated due to the two-per-country rule. She was also 13th in the 100 fly, which, while it leaves something to be desired, perhaps with Sarah Sjostrom gravitating away from the event Junevik will put an increased focus there, and use the positive momentum created at SC Worlds as a catalyst of sorts.
#82: Lisa Mamie, Switzerland – After producing a massive time drop to win silver in the 200 breast at the 2020 European Championships (in 2021) in 2:22.05, Mamie underperformed at the World Championships and missed the final, where the winning time (2:22.41) ended up being the slowest in the event since 2003. However, the Swiss native responded by winning the Euro title in 2:23.27, ranking her seventh in the world for the year. At 23, Mamie may have already hit her ceiling, and she hasn’t established herself in a second event, failing to crack 1:07 in the 100 breast last year. But for now, she’s still a medal contender in the 200 breast.
#81: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary – What to make of one of the most decorated women in the sport over the last 14 years? Hosszu has been a force in the pool ever since she won the world title in the 400 IM back in 2009, and went on an unprecedented run of dominance in the medley events from 2013 to 2019. Things have changed for the Iron Lady since 2020—she has said she has no imminent plans to retire, and wants to pursue her goal of winning 100 career international medals (currently at 96), but her window to do so is closing rapidly. The 33-year-old also has said she doesn’t expect to race at Paris 2024, meaning she’s putting a lot of weight into this year to add a few more pieces of hardware to her resume. Despite her decline, Hosszu was still fourth in the 400 IM and seventh in the 200 IM at the World Championships. At 33, she ranked fifth in the world in the 400 IM (4:35.95), and two of the swimmers ahead of her, Kaylee McKeown and Katie Ledecky, typically haven’t raced the event internationally. Hosszu’s ability is too elite to discount, and if the Olympics aren’t on her radar, perhaps she’ll put her focus on the SC European Championships—where she’s a 20-time champion—to reach her medal goal.
#80: Erika Brown, USA – Despite the influx of up-and-coming talent in the United States in Brown’s primary events, the 24-year-old has maintained her place as one of the country’s elite female sprinters, qualifying for the World Championship team by .01 and then winning bronze in the 50 free in a time of 24.38. That swim ranked her sixth in the world for 2022, and after adding four more relay medals in Budapest, Brown was a 50 free finalist at SC Worlds and won five more relay medals in Melbourne. The University of Tennessee grad will have her work cut out to remain one of the top sprint freestylers in the U.S. and stay on major travel teams, but up until this point she’s done just that.
#79: Dakota Luther, USA – Luther was one of the top 200 butterfliers in the world last year—she ranked eighth in long course with her personal best time of 2:07.02 at U.S. Summer Nationals, and she also won the short course world title in the event last month. However, she did not vie for a spot on the U.S. World Championship (LCM) team, so perhaps her year wasn’t all that it could’ve been. Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith have had a lock on the two U.S. slots in the 200 fly at major international long course meets for the last couple of years, but Luther is knocking on the door and should be able to challenge both in 2023. The 23-year-old is currently wrapping up her collegiate career at the University of Texas, and will be a contender for the Worlds team if she puts all of her focus on LC after the NCAA Championships.
#78: Chelsea Hodges, Australia – It was a bit of an up-and-down 2022 for Hodges, as she followed an impressive Olympic performance—placing ninth in the 100 breast and winning gold on the Australian medley relay while swimming in the final—by missing the World Championship team by six one-hundredths of a second. The 21-year-old rebounded by winning three medals at the Commonwealth Games, including a pair of individual bronzes in the women’s 50 and 100 breast, and then helped Australia break the world record in the 200 medley relay at SC Worlds. Hodges ranked seventh in the world last year in the 50 breast but was only 26th in the 100 breast. Among Australia’s three main female breaststrokers, Hodges is the youngest by at least three years (four younger than Jenna Strauch) and thus likely has the most upside. She went 1:05.99 in the 100 breast at the 2021 Olympic Trials—a return to that form will go a long way in boosting her value.
#77: Eneli Jefimova, Estonia – Jefimova, who only turned 16 in December, made modest improvements in her primary breaststroke races in 2022, producing personal best times of 30.08 in the 50 and 2:26.85 in the 200 (LCM) while coming .01 off her best in the 100 at 1:06.48. After getting her feet wet with a semi-final appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, the Estonian took the next step by making the World Championship final in the 50 breast, placing sixth in Budapest. It’s just a matter of time before Jefimova is among the best female breaststrokers in the world, it’s just hard to gauge whether she’ll have one massive breakthrough or continue to steadily make her way up in a gradual manner.
#76: Taylor Ruck, Canada – At times, Ruck has been among the best swimmers in the world, but has had various things hold her back, including an eating disorder that she went public with in late 2021. But Ruck had a very solid 2022, making the World Championship final in the 200 free (placing sixth), winning three relay medals in Budapest, and also winning the NCAA title in the 200 free. But perhaps her best performance in recent memory came at SC Worlds, where she set a personal best time en route to placing sixth in the 100 free (52.08), was just shy of her PB to take seventh in the razor-thin 200 free (1:52.88), and also had blazing fast 50 (23.63) and 100 free (51.49) relay legs. If the 22-year-old can parlay that momentum into a successful NCAA Championship performance with the Cardinal and then show up on top form at the 2023 World Championships, individual medals could be in her sights.
Read the full story on SwimSwam: SwimSwam’s Top 100 For 2023: Women’s #100-76