As this year's FINA Swimming World Cup series comes to a fitting close this weekend in Indianapolis, 11 total swimmers are within reach of winning the same race at all three stops. The likelihood they can reach that “triple crown” this weekend in Indiana remains to be seen, but based on the performances thus far, it will be tough for anyone to take them down.
Here are the eleven swimmers in-line to win their respective triple crowns and who is potentially their biggest challenger.
Dylan Carter - 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly
Carter has been lights out in the 50s of stroke in Berlin and Toronto as the 26-year-old has a chance for three triple crowns in freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly. If one could rank Carter’s chances, butterfly may be his strongest shot as his best time is faster than anyone entered this weekend.
Chalmers hasn’t quite showed his freestyle speed that saw him break a world record last year, while Stokowski has some of the best underwaters in the entire world. Ceccon has been fast in butterfly, but it will be a tall ask if he is to take down Carter in the 50m butterfly.
Shaine Casas - 100m, 200m backstroke
Casas really hit his stride in Toronto, moving up the all-time list in the 100m up to third, and also challenged the world record in the 200m IM. Casas has really proven himself to be one of the top swimmers in the entire world this World Cup season and has a loaded event lineup this weekend to continue his momentum.
Biggest challenger: Ryan Murphy, USA
Although Murphy’s best times don't match those of Casas, he is still one of the top long course backstrokers in the entire world, winning the 200m World title this past summer. Murphy wasn’t in Toronto but he will be in Indianapolis and will be looking to put up some good times in a crowded American backstroke field.
Kyle Chalmers - 100m freestyle
Despite winning two 100m freestyle finals at the World Cup, we still quite haven’t seen Chalmers at his very best, which is what got him to set the world record last year in the event. He has been the only man to break 46 seconds this year in the event…is there room for him to break 45?
Biggest challenger: Thomas Ceccon, ITA
Although Ceccon is closest on paper, American Justin Ress could pose a formidable challenge to the 2016 Olympic Champion. Either way, this could be the most likely slam dunk for any of the potential triple crown winners.
Nic Fink - 50m, 100m, 200m breaststroke
Fink has been unstoppable in the breaststroke races, winning all six thus far across the two continents. At age 29, Fink seemingly gets better and better every time he dives into the water, having won his first World title, both short course and long course, in the last 12 months.
Biggest challenger: Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA
If Fink is to get beat this weekend, it could be by the man who beat him to the wall in the 100m breaststroke final at the World Championships in Budapest in June. Nicolo Martinenghi has the fastest time in the world this year in the 100m breaststroke in short course, and has the hand speed to be able to take down Fink in the 50m. The 200 will be tough for the Italian, but it should be anyone’s game in the 50 and 100m.
Beryl Gastaldello - 100m IM
Gastaldello has been one of the top sprinters in the world the last couple of years in short course meters and her versatility has been on full display in the 100m IM this World Cup.
Biggest challenger: Beata Nelson, USA
Gastaldello won both races in Berlin and Toronto by a combined 0.15 seconds with Nelson coming in second both times. Does her luck continue for the third straight meet or do the scripts flip?
Siobhan Haughey - 100m, 200m freestyle
After resting this summer to nurse an injury, Haughey has been back like she never left during this World Cup, showing the speed that got her two silver medals at the last Olympics in Tokyo. Her rare mix of speed and endurance has helped her in contention of the overall World Cup title as she sits second overall.
Haughey was able to hold off American Katie Ledecky in the 200m freestyle in Toronto after the American just got out of the 1500m freestyle minutes before. Now in Indianapolis, both Ledecky and Canadian Summer McIntosh pose as threats to end Haughey’s run, with McIntosh electing not to swim the 400m IM before to go all in on this event.
For the 100m freestyle, Australia’s Madison Wilson has been as fast as a 51.40 this year, which is not far off of Haughey’s 51.33 season best from Toronto. Also watch for Poland’s Kasia Wasick, who is going for a hat trick of her own in the 50m freestyle.
Chad Le Clos - 100m butterfly
Le Clos has seemed to be reborn in this World Cup series. After some tumultuous times in 2020 and 2021, Le Clos has been looking like the guy that was winning medals and setting world records in the 2010s.
Biggest challenger: Tom Shields, USA
Le Clos is no stranger to the FINA Swimming World Cup, and it seems he has always swum side-by-side with American Tom Shields. Those two will go head to head once again, and even though they are both over age 30, they are still as competitive as ever. Shields has had Le Clos’s number a few times at the Swimming World Cup, and if anybody can take down the South African, it could be Shields.
Ruta Meilutyte - 50m, 100m breaststroke
Meilutyte has been oh so close to both sprint breaststroke world records as she is now considered the best sprinter in the entire world in breaststroke. The 2012 Olympic champion is swimming better than ever in the second half of her career and a triple crown would only solidify her place as the world’s best.
Biggest challenger: Lilly King, USA
Although Meilutyte got the better of King in Toronto in both the 50m and 100m, the series shifts to King’s home state, where she has a large and devoted following. King has been swimming in “The Nat” since she was a young age grouper, and has always performed well when the stakes are high in that pool.
Beata Nelson - 100m, 200m backstroke, 200m IM
Nelson has used her stellar underwaters to her advantage this World Cup series, and is within an arm’s reach of a world record in the 200m backstroke. A few times it has looked like someone could take her down, but she has always relied on a big last turn underwater to save her.
In the backstrokes, Masse is her strongest challenger, but doesn’t quite have the finishing kick that Nelson has. Masse’s strength lies in her speed and could take down anybody in the 100m at her best.
Rising star Leah Hayes looks to be an intriguing matchup in the 200m IM. After setting the world junior record this summer in the long course version at the World Championships, Hayes tries her hand at short course meters. She is still a little bit of a mystery here, but Hayes is just a couple weeks removed from her 17th birthday and is coming in fresh. Could that be enough to take down Nelson or will her underwaters prevail once more?
Matthew Sates - 400m freestyle, 400m IM
Last year’s overall World Cup winner is going for a hat trick in both the 400m freestyle and IM as he also chases a second straight overall title. Sates seems to be back on track after some disappointing swims this summer at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
In comes Great Britain’s Duncan Scott making his 2022 Swimming World Cup debut where he will take on Sates in four of the six he is entered in. Scott has built up a reputation as one of the most versatile swimmers on the planet and if he is on form, could take down Sates in the IM.
Scott is also in the 400m freestyle, but the biggest challenge may come from Kieran Smith, who was less than a second away from him in both Toronto and Berlin. Sates has been known to press on the back half, and if Smith can utilize his front-end speed, perhaps he could take down the South African, or try to beat him at his own game.
Kasia Wasick - 50m freestyle
Wasick, similar to Fink, is getting better every time she dives into the pool, and at age 30, swam a lifetime best in Toronto to put her fifth all-time in the 50m freestyle.
Biggest challenger: Abbey Weitzeil, USA
Wasick has hardly been challenged this World Cup season, but if someone could take her down, it could be the American Weitzeil who is racing in her first international meet since last year’s FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). Weitzeil’s best is only 0.17 slower than Wasick’s and if she is on her game, she could potentially take down the Polish swimmer if she falters.