Foster, Kalisz Frontrunners As soon as Once more In Males’s 400 IM




Days away from Michael Phelps taking the file from Mary T. Meagher for having the longest steady time frame holding a swimming world file, our consideration turns to see which of his fellow People can climb their means out of his colossal shadow and make an try, nonetheless unlikely, to supplant him atop the boys’s 400 IM file board.

The storylines heading into the 2022 U.S. Worldwide Trials within the 400 IM had been various. Confidence ought to have been excessive because the reigning Olympic gold and silver medalists had been each American. But each got here into the meet with little to no kind (and by no kind, actually no kind). Chase Kalisz, the reigning Olympic champion, had not even swum the occasion that season and Jay Litherland, the silver medalist, had not damaged 4:19, whereas within the lead-up to Olympic Trials the earlier yr his season greatest was 4:14.9.

Maybe the larger storyline than the questionable type of the 2 above was if Carson Foster may recover from that hurdle and make a senior worldwide workforce after inserting third on the 2021 Olympic Trials within the 400 IM, 4th within the 200 IM, and eighth within the 200 free. Foster got here into the 2022 Trials with one thing to show, particularly having gone a time quicker than what gained Olympic gold in Tokyo (4:08.46) proper earlier than the Video games acquired underway at a meet in Austin.

As typically as not, nonetheless, the uncertainty heading into the meet was swiftly dismissed because the outcomes got here in. Foster proved himself greater than worthy, touching first in 4:09.33 whereas Kalisz picked up the place he left off from the earlier summer time, ending because the runner-up in 4:10.50. The pair went onto Budapest and completed in the identical order, profitable the silver (4:06.56) and bronze (4:07.47) medals behind French phenom Leon Marchand.

Fourteen months later, the storylines couldn’t be any totally different.


Having shaken that monkey off his again, Foster saved on firing in any respect cylinders post-2022 Trials. He left Budapest with a pair of particular person silver medals and a relay gold, added extra {hardware} to his assortment at Quick Course Worlds, and after a profitable junior yr at Texas turned professional simply this previous Could.

Coming into this meet, he actually isn’t resting on his laurels. On the Westmont cease of the 2023 Professional Swim Sequence, Foster threw down a blistering 4:09.69 — a time that at the moment has him ranked because the fourth-fastest on this planet behind solely the aforementioned Marchand, Japan’s Daiya Seto and Russia’s Ilya Borodin, the latter of which is gained’t be competing on the World Championships.

One spot behind Foster, sitting fifth within the rankings, is Kalisz. He posted a time of 4:10.09 on the 2022 U.S. Open Championships again in December, after which swam 4:13.06 on the Westmont Professional Swim, ending third behind Marchand and Foster.

After in the end ending in sixth on the 2022 Trials in 4:14.44, Litherland packed his go well with and goggles, set his eyes westward, and landed in Tempe to coach below Bob Bowman at ASU. The 2021 Olympic silver medalist at the moment sits outdoors the world’s prime 25 however ranks because the fourth-fastest American with the 4:16.45 he swam on the Solar Satan Open two weeks in the past. That was the identical meet at which Regan Smith broke the American file within the 200 fly, so maybe Litherland isn’t as primed to make a run at making it again to a world workforce, or maybe he and Smith are simply on totally different coaching schedules.

Bobby Finke courtesy Chris Pose

The final of the confirmed opponents doesn’t have any worldwide medals within the 400 IM, however is maybe essentially the most well-known of all of the swimmers talked about on this article. Recognized for closing like a freight practice and a double medalist from the 2022 Worlds, the final of the swimmer on this group is Bobby Finke. Final yr he completed third on this occasion final yr, solely .07 seconds behind Kalisz (after the breaststroke the distinction between the 2 was 3.75 seconds).

This yr, Finke swam 4:15.93 on the Fort Lauderdale cease of the Professional Swim Sequence again in March, a swim that cracked the world’s prime 25 and sits because the third quickest American. Of the 4 swimmers talked about, Finke has swum the occasion essentially the most this yr, placing up respectable occasions of 4:17.64 in Knoxville and 4:16.63 in Atlanta a number of weeks in the past. Because the 400 IM is on Day 3, Finke is not going to run into any potential scheduling conflicts with the 400 free (the 2 occasions have coincided on the Olympic Trials prior to now, although they gained’t subsequent yr). The 400 IM can be properly spaced out from the gap free occasions, with the 1500 on the primary day and the 800 on the fifth and final day.


Till the psych sheets are launched, it’s inconceivable to know simply who’s and isn’t going to enter this occasion. Whereas there are a number of swimmers with occasions able to making the highest 8, we simply don’t know if they’ll swim it. David Johnston completed 4th on this occasion final yr, swimming 4:13.24. He additionally completed third in 800 and within the 1500. On the 2023 NCAA Championships, he completed runner-up within the 500, so he could focus extra on the 400 free, an occasion he ended up DNSing final yr.

His season greatest within the IM is 4:17.27, swum on the Mission Viejo Professional Swim Sequence. As this meet occurred simply final month, it might present his intentions to swim this occasion. Nevertheless, he did additionally swim the 400, 800, and 1500 free.

Becoming a member of Johnston within the ‘will-he-won’t-he’ class is Kieran Smith. The mid-distance freestyler at the moment holds a season-best of 4:19.67 from January however has not swum it since then. With the 200 free coming the day earlier than and the 400 free the day after, he appears way more unlikely than Johnston to swim it. The truth is, Smith has not swum this occasion at a world workforce choice meet since 2018.


Behind Carson Foster’s third and Johnston’s fifth at NCAAs, there’s a plethora of younger American expertise hoping to make it onto the world’s workforce. Jake Foster got here tantalizingly shut, ending third within the 200 breast final yr and fifth on this occasion, touching in a 4:13.76, simply .02 off his lifetime greatest. He deferred his admission to medical faculty to show professional, and whereas he has put up some outstanding occasions within the breaststrokes, his season’s greatest is 4:20.85.

Additionally making that NCAA closing was Georgia’s Ian Grum. The senior positioned seventh, one spot forward of J. Foster, however sits behind him within the lengthy course rankings with a season-best of 4:22.22 from the start of this month.

Forward of each Foster and Grum within the US LCM rankings are Texas A&M’s Baylor Nelson and Tennessee’s Landon Driggers. Whereas each swam within the comfort closing at NCAAs, they discover themselves within the prime eight of American 400 IMers this season. They maintain down the sixth and eighth spots on the rankings with their occasions of 4:18.38 and 4:20.85, respectively.

The Unknowns

The qualifying interval for the meet ranges again to January 2022, so it will be remiss of us to not point out Kevin Vargas’s 4:11.45 from the 2022 Phillips 66 Nationwide Championships. Nevertheless, Vargas has not swum because the 2023 SEC, after which he stepped other than swimming because of psychological well being causes. Two returning ‘A’ finalists from the 2022 Trials meet, Sean Grieshop and Jason Louser, are additionally each unknown commodities. Grieshop’s season-best 400 IM is simply 4:24.27 and Louser has solely competed at two lengthy course meets this season and didn’t contest the 400 IM at both of them.

SwimSwam’s Picks

Darkish Horse(s): Maximus Williamson and Ryan Erisman – Williamson positioned tenth on this occasion eventually yr’s Trials, swimming 4:20.01. That swim certified him for the Jr. Pan Pacs, the place he went on to earn a silver medal in a private better of 4:17.58. Whereas he has dropped his yards time down into NCAA A-final scoring vary, his season greatest in meters is simply 4:28.01. Erisman, who swims for Laker Swimming in Florida, is simply 16 years outdated and holds a season and private better of 4:22.12. A time that ranks him twelfth amongst US males this season. Whereas each are fairly lengthy pictures for the Worlds groups, they every have an excellent likelihood of creating the Junior Worlds Workforce. 

See all of our choices for the 2023 U.S. Nationals with the SwimSwam Preview Index right here.


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