The only two men so far to set FINA’s Junior World Record in the 100 free*, Brazilian Matheus Santana and American Caeleb Dressel will go head-to-head for the first time this week at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte.
Santana, the current record-holder, makes the journey up to Charlotte from Brazil, where he is the next in a long line of elite sprint specialists. He lands in Charlotte with a whole host of Brazil’s top sprinters, including world record-holder Cesar Cielo, Bruno Fratus and Marcelo Chierighini.
Santana, though, may turn out to be the best of them all. After turning 19 just last month, Santana has already been 48.25 in the 100, which ranked him with in the top 10 in the world for last season. He was the Youth Olympic Games gold medalist and comes into Charlotte with the 10th seed.
Dressel, meanwhile, was the original benchmark-setter for the Junior World Record. FINA began keeping track of Junior World marks in March of 2014, and used the results of the 2013 Junior World Championships as the starting “benchmarks.” That’s why we marked Dressel with that asterisk above – he was technically the first to set the bar for the Junior World Record, though at that point, his time was still considered the “benchmark” time as opposed to the actual record itself.
Dressel won that 2013 World Junior Championship in 48.97, only a few weeks after he had turned 17. Dressel took some time off in 2014 and didn’t approach that time again, but he came back with a vengeance this winter in his freshman season at the University of Florida.
The NCAA rookie nearly broke Nathan Adrian‘s short course American record while winning the NCAA title in the 50 free at 18.67. Charlotte will be our first chance to see how Dressel’s freshman progress transfers over to the long course pool. He’s still 18 years old, but isn’t eligible to break the Junior World Record anymore, as FINA calculates ages based on the end of the calendar year, when Dressel will be 19.
Dressel and Santana will go head-to-head in the 50, 100 and 200 frees this weekend. And though there is still plenty of time for scratches to shift the heat sheets some, based on the psych sheets released last week, the duo would actually wind up in the same circle-seeded heat of that 100 freestyle in the morning preliminaries.