Thursday, 2 January 2014

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 40 to 31

The third annual Speed Endurance Top 50 Swimmers of the Year list is upon us. There is no set-in-stone criteria, but priority is given to achievements in Barcelona at the World Championships. World records and textile best times also carry a lot of weight. Other outstanding achievements away from Barcelona were acknowledged, but it took an extraordinary feat to better a World Championship medal. Also worth noting, as this is a list of the Top 50 individuals, relay medals did not come into play, however race-changing relay contributions were valued highly.

Top 50 Swimmers of 2013 - 50 to 41

40. Jessica Hardy - 2013 Highlight: A tremendous return to form in the breaststroke for Hardy culminated in double bronze in the 50 and 100 in Barcelona. In a bumper year of great women's breaststroke performances, Hardy held her own.

39. Aya Terakawa - 2013 Highlight: The queen of consistency once again delivered with bronze in the 50 and 100 backstroke in Barcelona and an impressive 58.70 opening medley relay split. A fitting end to a great career.

38. Federica Pellegrini - 2013 Highlight: Just running out of pool in the 200 freestyle final to take silver in 1:55.14 behind Missy Franklin. Her 29.07 final split was the quickest of the entire field by some distance. The next 200 free showdown between Franklin, Pellegrini and a rejuvenated pair of Schmitt and Muffat will be must-watch stuff.

37. Thiago Pereira - 2013 Highlight: Winning his first two World Championship medals with bronze in the 200 and 400 medley. He missed out on silver in the 200, and a few places higher on this list, by just 0.01 seconds.

36. Ryan Cochrane - 2013 Highlight: Leading Sun Yang at the 1400m mark of the 1500 freestyle final in Barcelona before settling for silver in 14:42.38. Cochrane also picked up a bronze in the 800 free final and
missed out on bronze in the 400 freestyle final by 0.17 seconds.

35. Zhao Jing - 2013 Highlight: The first world champion from Barcelona on the list took the 50 backstroke in 27.29. She finished 0.10 seconds clear of compatriot Fu Yuanhui in a Chinese dominated event. The 100 back world champion from Shanghai in 59.05 disappointed over the longer distance in 2013 with a strongest effort of 1:00.28.

34. Dana Vollmer - 2013 Highlight: Vollmer had a down year after her stunning 2012. Despite this the American was still able to win bronze in the 100 butterfly in 57.24. Vollmer's place on the list though is down to her medley relay split of 56.31 which was comfortably the fastest of the field and put the USA in complete control of the race.

33. Vladimir Morozov - 2013 Highlight: Winning world silver in the 50 freestyle in 21.47. Morozov split a jaw dropping 21.98 in the first 50m of the 100 free final, but paid for his exertions on the way home finishing in 5th. His disappointed of missing out on a medal in the 100 will have been tempered by his stellar final year at NCAAs, dominance at the World University Games and prize money from the World Cup tour totalling $183k.

32. Camille Lacourt - 2013 Highlight: The second world champion from Barcelona on the list took the 50 backstroke final in 24.42. He also led-off the 4 x 100 medley relay in 53.23,  faster than his individual final for the gold winning French team (albeit thanks to a USA DQ).

31. Nathan Adrian - 2013 Highlight: From an individual standpoint the Olympic 100 free champion didn't have the best 2013. He took bronze in the 100 free in 47.84 and fourth in the 50 free final. What won't be so obvious at first glance was Adrian's contributions for the USA relay teams. He touched the wall first when leading off the USA 4x100 free relay ahead of James Magnussen, although the team had to settle for silver, but it was his 46.69 relay split from the DQ'd USA medley relay that was the most special. The split was the fastest ever in textile, beating Pieter van den Hoogenband's 46.70 from 2003 and Yannick Agnel's 46.74 in London.

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