Ranking the 6 Most Impressive Swims From the Pan American Games; Sydney Pickrem Shines

PICKREM Sydney CAN Gold Medal 200m Individual Medley Women Final Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 20/12/2021 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Ranking the 6 Most Impressive Swims From the Pan American Games; Sydney Pickrem Shines

The recent Pan American Games featured several standout performances. Here’s a look at the most-impressive efforts from the competition in Santiago, Chile.


1. Sydney Pickrem (Canada), 2:09.04 – 200 IM

Pickrem proved her consistency once again as she took home gold in a new Pan American Games record of 2:09.04. Pickrem touched second at the first wall, trailing fellow Canadian teammate Mary Sophie-Harvey, but then promptly dominated the field, winning by more than two seconds.

Pickrem has been one the most consistent 200 IMers in recent years, evidenced by six sub-2:10 years of the last seven, and sub-2:11 in every year since 2015. Her 2:09.04 would have been good enough for a bronze medal in Tokyo and a fifth-place finish at this summer’s World Championships.

Pickrem’s best time still stands at 2:08.61, and even at age 26, it looks like another PR is still in the cards. Look for Pickrem to be in the mix for a medal in Paris next summer.

2. Maggie Mac Neil (Canada), 56.94 – 100 Butterfly

Mac Neil dominated the 100 fly, taking down Kelsi Dahlia’s eight-year-old Pan American record by more than three-tenths of a second. Mac Neil surged to an early lead in the race, taking out the first 50 in 26.79 and closing in 30.15 to touch for gold in 56.94. Mac Neil’s 56.94 is the fastest time she has swum since Worlds.

Mac Neil’s 100 fly was one of three gold medals she captured at the Pan American Games. Mac Neil also tied for first in the 50 freestyle (24.84) and clocked a new personal best in a gold-medal performance in the 100 free (53.64)

3. Sydney Pickrem (Canada), 2:23.39 – 200 Breaststroke

Back again on the list is Pickrem, this time behind her 200 breaststroke performance. Pickrem won a nail-biter of a race against fellow Canadian and fourth-place finisher at the 2022 World Championships, Kelsey Wog.

From the start, it looked like it was a Wog and Pickrem duel. Wog led the first 150, and Pickrem was more than a half second back heading into the last 50. However, Pickrem’s last 50 was 36.46, which was good enough to touch in 2:23.39, just ahead of Wog at 2:23.49.

Pickrem’s 2:23.39 is the fastest she’s been since the 2019 World Championships, and for Pickrem, a stellar 2024 season couldn’t be lined up any better than with the Paris Olympics less than nine months away.


1. Gui Caribe (Brazil), 48.06 – 100 Freestyle; 46.94 – 100 Freestyle Split

Caribe captured gold in the 100 freestyle, eclipsing his previous best time of 48.11. Despite an impressive mark of 48.06, Caribe just missed Cesar Cielo’s Pan-American record from 2011 by .22.

While Santos’s 48.06 was impressive, his 46.94 split to anchor the 400 medley relay was off-the-charts impressive. The 46.94 was the fastest split at the Pan American Games and would have been the third-fastest split of the World championships, behind his own 46.76 and Kyle Chalmers’ 46.56. From a swing, it is becoming evident that Caribe is one of the best in the world.

2. Guilherme Costa (Brazil), 3:46.79 – 400 Freestyle

The 25-year-old of Brazilian battled neck and neck with Alfonso Mestre of Venezuela but never trailed during the race and closed in 27.55 to secure the victory. Costa eclipsed Ryan Cochrane’s 3:48.29 to break the Pan American record that had stood since 2015. Costa not only won the 400 free at Pan Ams but also the 800 (7:53.01) and the 1500 (15:09.29).

Costa looks to be a serious medal threat in Paris and, in the past two world championships, placed third and fourth in the 400.

3. Jonny Kulow (United States), 48.38 – 100 Freestyle; 47.32 – 100 Freestyle Split

The Arizona State sophomore took some time away from his training in Tempe to make the trip to Chile, and he did not disappoint.

In the 400 medley relay, Kulow anchored the Americans to gold in 47.32. Kulow’s 47.32 would have tied Matt King for the fastest split for Team USA at last year’s World Championships.

In the 100 free, Kulow tied for second with fellow American Brooks Curry in 48.38, .28 behind Gui Caribe. The 48.38 was a personal best for Kulow, outperforming his previous best of 48.47 at the Phillipps 66 National Championships. Kulow also finished second in the 50 free in 21.90.

Kulow is starting to stand out for the Americans and looks, at the very least, to have a great shot at qualifying for the USA Olympic Team in the 400 freestyle relay. Kulow is also only 19, and it seems there’s still room for development at ASU under coach Bob Bowman.


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6 months ago

Fun article. Thanks.

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