2017 Swammy Awards Male Swimmer of the Year: Caeleb Dressel

To see all of our 2017 Swammy Awards presented by TYR, click here. 


Though Caeleb Dressel made his Olympic debut in 2016, it was 2017 that really saw him come into fruition. Dressel, an Olympic finalist in the 100 free and 2-time relay Olympic gold medalist, quickly rose to the top of the ranks of several events over the summer. An incredible NCAA performance foreshadowed the dominance to come at the U.S. Nationals and World Championships. Dressel walked away from his first World Championships with 7 gold medals and was named FINA’s Male Swimmer of the Meet.

Individually, Dressel won 3 titles at Worlds: the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly. He also played a role on the Americans’ winning men’s 400 free relay, men’s 400 medley relay, mixed 400 free relay, and mixed 400 medley relay. He set American Records in the 50 free (21.15) and 100 free (47.17), becoming the fastest swimmer ever in the 50 free and just over a tenth shy of the same honor in the 100. He became the first man to break 50 seconds in textile in the 100 fly. His winning time of 49.86 was just 4 hundredths shy of the World Record set by a super-suited Michael Phelps in 2009. Dressel was just shy of the podium in the 50 fly, placing 4th in the final after breaking the American Record with a 22.76 in the semifinals.

One of the most memorable performances of Dressel’s was his day 7 showing at Worlds, which saw him win 3 gold medals in a single night. He first scorched the texile fastest 50 free in 21.15. Shortly after, he ripped a 49.86 in the 100 fly. Dressel’s final gold of the night came as a part of the World Record-setting mixed 400 free relay. He contributed a 47.22 leadoff split. It was his second World Record of the meet, having already played a part in the mixed 400 medley relay World Record.

All-in-all, Dressel’s gold medal total gave him a greater amount of golds than any country other than the U.S. earned throughout the meet. He’s now tied with Phelps as the winningest swimmer at a single World Championships with his 7 gold medals. He is the first swimmer to have won 3 golds in a single night at Worlds.

Honorable Mention

In no particular order.

Chase Kalisz (photo: Peter Sukenik)

  • Chase Kalisz (USA)- After landing on the podium at Worlds in 2013 and 2015, Kalisz finally made his way to the top. In his signature 400 IM, Kalisz took down Phelps’ Meet Record and defeated reigning Olympic champion Hagino en route to gold. He finished nearly 2 and a half seconds ahead of the field. Though he had big shoes to fill with the likes of Phelps and Lochte gone in the 200 IM, Kalisz was certainly up to the challenge. His victory in the event gave the U.S. 8-straight World titles in the event.
  • Adam Peaty (GBR)- Peaty wasn’t able to match his World Record swim in the 100 breast, but he did take down the World Record in the 50 breast at Worlds. He became the first man ever to break 26 seconds in the event, posting a 25.95 in the semis before going on to win gold in the final. He also won the 100 breast and cemented his status as the sole owner of the top 10 fastest 100 breast performances ever.
  • Sun Yang (CHN)- Sun successfully redeemed himself against Australia’s Horton to win gold in the 400 free. His victory in the event in Budapest gave him his 3rd-straight World title in that race. Sun also swam to gold in the 200 free, setting a new Asian Record time of 1:44.39. That gave him his first World title in the event.

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Rick Allred
6 years ago

No argument from me. The perfect choice. Great swimmer and even greater humanitarian. An incredible role model for USA swimming.

6 years ago

dean farris

Reply to  atthewall
6 years ago


bobo gigi
6 years ago

No discussion here. Mr Dressel is revolutionizing the sprint world before our eyes. He can multiple the races and still break records. Which is out of the norm for a sprinter who normally needs to be the freshest possible to perform. Day 7 of last words proved that Mr Dressel was not normal. Amazing starts, amazing underwaters and amazing last 15 meters. An amazing natural speed mixed with a big endurance = a crazy year from the bathtub to the big pool. Congrats to him and his coaches at Florida. It was fun to watch.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

Bobo is right – Dressel seems to accelerate the last 10-15 meters.

6 years ago

No arguments here. Versatile and dominant. The next closest would be Peaty. Peaty is dominant as well but not as versatile. Perhaps if he took up the 200 breast it would have been closer. But I wouldn’t want to see his 100 breast dominance suffer.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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