The public polling weighs in with four other votes coming from top retired athletes, technical officials, sports leaders and members of the media.

With the 2021 winners – Australia’s Emma McKeon and the USA’s Caeleb Dressel – not making the shortlist, we’re guaranteed to see a new King and Queen crowned with the final results are revealed during the World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2023.

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Meet the 2022 Men’s Swimming Finalists

David Popovici – Romania

Image Source: World Aquatics

The teenager from Bucharest put the world on notice – and Romania into a frenzy – with the freestyle specialist’s exploits in 2022. The double World Aquatics Championship gold medallist in Budapest's headline moment came when he took the 100m freestyle world record that had stood since the shiny suit ear during the 2022 European Championships as well a bevvy of World Junior Records in the 25m and 50m pool.   

Leon Marchand – France

Image Source: Laszlo Balogh/World Aquatics

Few people had more of a breakout than the Marchand did at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, with the 20-year-old Frenchman taking gold in both the 200m and 400m Medleys in the same pool he had won a world junior championships bronze back in 2019. He added silver in the 200m butterfly for good measure on a day that Kristof Milak was unstoppable.   

Kristof Milak – Hungary

Image Source: World Aquatics

Budapest’s favourite son added two more World Championship golds to the gold and silver he won in 2019. The then 23-year-old had the power of the Duna Arena crowd behind him as he nearly eclipsed the 1:50 barrier, resetting his own 200m Butterfly World Record to 1:50.34.   

 Thomas Ceccon – Italy

Image Source: István Derencsényi/World Aquatics

A former Youth Olympic Games gold medallist and two-time World Junior champ, Ceccon started adding global senior titles to his name by the handful in 2022. None were more impressive than his 51.60 World Record swim in the 100m backstroke. He added another gold (4x100m Medley Relay) and a bronze (4x100m Freestyle Relay) in Budapest, was in the running for the overall Swimming World Cup title and then followed this up with three golds (including an individual win in the 100m IM), one silver and two bronze at the short course World Championships in Melbourne.


Meet the 2022 Women’s Swimming Finalists

Summer McIntosh – Canada 

Image Source: Mike Lewis/World Aquatics

The then 16-year-old Toronto native fully announced herself – and her versatility – on the global stage in Budapest by winning World Championship golds in both the 200m Butterfly and 400m Medley, as well as adding silver in the 400m Freestyle and bronze in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay.  The daughter of former Canadian Olympic team swimmer Jill Horstead, McIntosh added two more championship gold medals to her 2022 tally in winning the 200m and 400m Medleys at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

Mollie O’Callaghan – Australia

Image Source: Morgan Hancock/World Aquatics

Having won Olympic gold and silver in the stellar Australian women’s relay at the Tokyo 2020 Games, O’Callaghan followed this up with a monster record haul in 2022. This included three golds (including a win in the individual 100m freestyle) and three silvers at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, five golds and two silvers at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, as well as three golds, three silvers and a bronze at the World Swimming Championships (25m) swimming back home in Melbourne.

Katie Ledecky – United States of America 

Image Source: László Balogh/World Aquatics

Shifting coasts and coaches after last summer’s Tokyo Olympics seems to have worked out just fine for distance freestyle ace Katie Ledecky as the American turned in another stellar performance at the World Aquatics Championships that included three individual golds in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events as well as another gold in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay. In the fall, the then 25-year-old set a pair of World Records in the 25m pool. This was enough for Ledecky to earn the  2022 Female Athlete of the Year honours from the Associated Press across all sports. Will it be enough for her to win her first World Aquatics Athlete of the Year award since she earned her first in 2013?

Kaylee McKeown – Australia

Image Source: István Derecsényi/World Aquatics

When McKeown won the 200m Backstroke in Budapest, the gold she earned stood out from the six silvers she had previously won at the World Aquatics Championships. Three of those silver came at the 2022 Worlds, with McKeown finishing second in the 200m Medley, Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay, and Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay. Swimming at her first World Swimming Championships, the Aussie added three golds (including golds in the individual 100m and 200m backstroke events) and a silver and bronze in Melbourne.  

Who's Getting Your Swimming Vote? The Call Room is Filled with Water Polo’s 2022 Premiere Players

Voting will continue through this Saturday (June 17th), with a vote taking place for one sport a day for the next six days. This past year’s top male and female water polo players are in the call room for tomorrow’s fan zone. Stay tuned to who made the final four selection – and don’t forget to get in your vote.