All-Time USA Lineup: Not An Easy Roster to Crack

Montage - photos courtesy of ISHOF; Craig Lord; Arena

Now that the World Junior Championships have concluded and with another month to go before the resumption of the FINA World Cup Series, it is a relatively slow time in the sport. As a result, it seemed like a good time to cruise through history and put together a lineup for the best all-time squad the United States could send into international competition

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Now that the World Junior Championships have concluded and with another month to go before the resumption of the FINA World Cup Series, it is a relatively slow time in the sport. As a result, it seemed like a good time to cruise through history and put together a lineup for the best all-time squad the United States could send into international competition


Cayley Guimarães

Great list.

Were Moses and Kreyzelburg considered?


Ryan lochte silver medal 200 IM in 2004, Bronze Medal in 2008, silver medal in 2012
Lazlo Cshe 4th place in 2004 behind phelps lochte and bovel, silver in 2008 behind phelps, and bronze in 2012

Lane Four

I have to disagree with Lundquist/Hansen. Lundquist would have been a two time gold medalist if it wasn’t for that damn boycott. The only consolation to 1980 was the world leading time. I think Lundquist easily trumped Hansen. \

Mark Jankelow

I totally agree wuth Lane Four!
When I tried to predict the 100 Breast before looking at the picks, I had Hencken and Lundquist! I did not even think Hansen!
Thank you for this interesting fun exercise


Hi John!

Great list! Your world’s all time list at swimmingworld/swiminfo was beyond exciting!

John Lohn

The argument for Lundquist certainly makes sense, especially the fact that he could have won in 1980 as well. The two world titles and 59.13 by Hansen is what tipped my hand in that direction. I’m thinking about it closely for sure.


Im not an experts expert, but ill have a crack for australia

50 free- Brett Hawke, Eamon Sullivan
100 Free- John Devitt/James Magnussen, Michael Wenden (Locks out Sullivan & Thorpe. Hard to go with either Devitt with 1 olympic gold, or Magnussen olympic silver, double world champs gold)
200 Free- Ian Thorpe, Mike Wenden
400 Free- Ian Thorpe, Murray Rose- (locks out kieran perkins and hackett, both world LC gold medallists)
1500 Free- Grant Hackett, Keiran Perkins -( locks out Andrew Charlton, Daniel Kowalski, Murray Rose, Stephen Holland, John Konrads)

100 Back- David Thiele, Matt Welsh
200 Back- Matt Welsh, Mark Tonelli

100 Breast- Brenton Rickard/ Christian Sprenger
200 Breast- Ian O’Brien/ Brenton Rickard (No room for sprenger or piper)

100 Fly- Geoff Huegill, Michael Klim (Scott Miller just misses out)
200 Fly- Jon Sieben, Kevin Barry

200 IM- Matthew Dunn, (2nd spot to difficult, a lot of swimmers could be second here, but no real standout imo)
400 IM- Matthew Dunn, Rob Woodhouse

Again, this is just opinion (+ a little research)

Craig Lord

A very fine list … yes, tricky with Rose in the 1500m especially as he was pre-worlds and lived at a time when to go two Olympic cycles was pretty special… but hard, to say the least, to lock out Perkins and Hackett. Good call on Kevin Berry … a pioneer and a man I had the privilege of meeting on a few occasions… beyond his pleasant and convivial nature, Kevin (long passed away) stood out for this: when things are not quite as they should be/could be better/something missing at a facility or as part of a press service, so many turn first to ‘who is to blame?’… Berry was among those who said instantly ‘ok, how do we fix it’… and then he did… fantastic. I hope he’s taking the same approach in the great pond in the sky… if so, we’ll all be in for a treat come our time 🙂


Great list… certainly not an easy exercise. Earvin over Jager and Hansen over Lundquist were my trip-ups.. Jager really defined the mens 50m free in terms of his approach to the race – mentally and physically. As for the breaststroke boys… I have a hard time passing on anyone (Lundsquist) who was great enough to stand up to our Vic Davis… and beat him.

As for the rest… as long as the priorities are right over the next three years, I suspect Lochte shows up on a few more of those lists by the close of 2016…

Great work as always..

John Lohn

The 50 free was another difficult choice and the reasoning for Ervin over Jager was his resurgence and posting his fastest times after the lengthy layoff. Jager could easily be the guy, however. The interesting sidenote here is the power of the “backup” roster. It is phenomenal.


Ryan Lochte is the only on the list who does not have olympics gold in his event.


And Brendan Hansen


ah you are right… how did I miss Hansen.

I agree with others that Lundquist should have taken Hansen’s place instead.


Also Tom Jager over Earvin.


No mention for Klim on 100 free??


That for the Australian List.

Later I will try to make a World List (That will cause some angry remarks on some people.. but)


It would be interesting to see an All Time European roster.

Craig Lord

European Roster with a twist coming up – next week 🙂

ben Jesse

Great work on putting together this Dream Team. LIke a couple of people have already mentioned I would have put Jager in. His 21.81 at the time and for years afterwards was unreachable. He may have reached his absolute peak between Olympic cycles (1990). You could argue the same for Perkins with his 3.43.80 and 14.41.66 in ’94. That 400 free race looked ridiculous as he was that far ahead.

Mark Jankelow

Although I agree with your picks for the 100 Fly, I think special mention and respect needs to br sent out to Pablo Morales


Yep, for more than a decade, when people thought of men 50 free, they’d think of Jager’s 21.81

For that alone, he should be in the USA line up for 50 free.

Australian swim fan

Some thoughts on the Australian list above – don’t forget Jon Henricks in the 100 Free or John Marshall and Boy Charlton in the 1500 – Henricks probably a better performer then Devitt at their best. Hard to pass over Konrads at his best – just reflect back on the Australian championships in 1960. Konrads broke every world record 200-1500! In the 100 Back I would place John Monkton in front of Welsh. 200 Breastroke – what about John Davies surely deserves to be ahead of Rickard and Phil Rogers and Peter Evans in the 100 Breast both deserve serious consideration in comparison to Rickard. I think we tend to consider current performances before past efforts because they are so much at the fore front of our thoughts.
Just some thoughts.
Australian swim fan

Australian swim fan

Unlike the women’s list the men’s list looks pretty spot on – but it was a lot easier given stand outs like Don Schollander, Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. In the 100 Free don’t forget Stephen (60 & 64) and Jeff Farrell (60) two of the greatest swimers never to compete in an individual event at an Olympics and both tragically the victims of the cut throat US selection process.
Australian swimfan

Australian swim fan

Sorry left out Stephen Clark’s last name.
Australian swimfan


100 fly was an issue for me. Number 1, I say Spitz over Phelps. He won by 1.3 seconds. Phelps won by a cumulative total of .3. Spitz’ world record was the ONLY mens WR to survive the 1976 Olympics. Phelps’ only textile WR lasted for a day

Not just that, but no mention of Crocker? The guy who beat Phelps head to head by 1.25 seconds and set a textile WR Phelps never matched?


To create a list of Brazil all time:

50 Free: Cielo and Scherer
100 Free: Cielo and Borges
200 Free: Borges and Jorge Fernandes
400 Free: Djan Madruga and Negreiros
1500 Free: Djan Madruga
100 fly: Mangabeira and Pereira
200 Fly: Kaio Marcio and de Deus
100 Back: Mangabeira and Arantes
200 back: Pereira and Salatta
100 Breast: Felipe Lime and Felipe França
200 Breast: Tales Cerdeira and Henrique Barbosa
200 medley: Pereira and Prado
400 Medley: Pereira and Prado

Just a quick made list.. but not no many to pick up…

John Lohn

The decision on Phelps over Spitz related to Phelps winning three consecutive Olympic titles. While Spitz won by a larger margin, I think we must take into consideration the global scene. The depth of competition was not as deep back in the day. As for Crocker, he warranted consideration, but the fact is that Phelps beat him head-to-head at two Olympics, the ultimate measuring stick.

Daniel Takata

Dear Rafael,

I think you should mention the ones like Tetsuo Okamoto (1500 free olympic medallist), José Fiolo (100 breast former world record holder), Rogerio Romero (200 back olympic finalist)…

Swim Channel Magazine has selected the all-time Brazil men’s roster. Check it out at

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