2017 U.S. Trials Previews: Can Adrian Hold off Dressel in 100 Free?

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2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials

  • Tuesday, June 27th-Saturday, July 1st
  • 50-Meter Course
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Meet Info

Caeleb Dressel (photo: Tim Binning)

After Caeleb Dressel‘s eye-popping 40.00 in the 100 free at NCAAs, swimming fans are eager to see what he can put together in the long course pool. Dressel hit a career milestone last summer when he made his first U.S. Olympic team in this event and broke 48 seconds for the first time in Rio. As the U.S. seeks redemption at Worlds after missing the final in 2015, Dressel is one of the keys to getting the Americans back on the podium and comes equipped with the experience of being on the winning 400 free relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

While he’s certainly one of the frontrunners for gold in this event in Indianapolis, Dressel has some tough competition. In the other corner, we have veteran National Teamer and Olympic champion Nathan Adrian, who won the 100 free at the 2012 Olympics and took bronze in Rio 2016. Adrian has been at the helm in this race for the Americans for several years now, and has consistently been a medalist on the international stage at Worlds, the Olympics, and Pan Pacs. He anchored the USA relay that won gold in Rio, and has already been as fast as 48.18 this season at the Mesa PSS.

Also among the returners from the Olympic gold medal relay in Rio are Ryan Held, Anthony Ervin, and Blake Pieroni, who all have best times in the 48-range. Held is the fastest of the three, and could compete for an individual spot. He smashed ACC Records during the NCAA season and could dip under 48 for the first time if he has similar improvements in long course. Pieroni looks primed for a drop and has already been as fast as 49.13 this season, which is just tenths shy of his 48.78 from 2016 Trials.

Michael Chadwick (photo: Mike Lewis)

We’ve seen big swims from a handful of guys already this season, and a few of them might be well on their way to a relay spot. Michael Chadwick comes to mind as a likely relay candidate. He narrowly missed making the Olympic team last summer and has only gotten better with a personal best 48.69 at 2017 Charlotte UltraSwim. Like Dressel, Chadwick had a big swim at NCAAs, lowering his best time to a 40.95 in the yards pool. Justin Ress (49.43) and Michael Jensen (49.35) have also had big in-season swims, breaking 50 seconds for the first time at the Atlanta Classic and Santa Clara PSS respectively.

NCAA butterfly champ Jack Conger has been clutch on Team USA relays, hitting multiple 47 splits at the 2015 Pan American Games. Conger has a conflict, though, as this event comes directly after the 200 fly, which is one of his best chances to make the team individually. His best time from a flat start is a 49.05 from 2015 Nationals. Similarly, Ryan Murphy hasn’t focused on this event at his championship meets, but he’s been a key piece of the Cal 400 free relays throughout his NCAA career and has managed to have some of the fastest splits of the field each time. Murphy has already put up a best time this season with a 49.60 at the Atlanta PSS. Since it doesn’t conflict with the backstrokes, we could see him swim it at Trials this time around.

National Teamers Matt Grevers, and Conor Dwyer are among the veterans in this event, having competed on the 4×100 free relay at past World Championships. Dwyer could sneak in there if he’s close to his best, which stands at a 48.94 from 2013 Nationals. Since 2015, Grevers’ best is a 49.55, and we can’t be sure he’ll opt to swim the event. If he does, however, he could have a shot. His lifetime best since the supersuit era is a 48.55 from 2012 Trials.


Place Swimmer Best Time Since 2015 Predicted Time
1 Caeleb Dressel 47.91 47.7
2 Nathan Adrian 47.72 47.9
3 Ryan Held 48.26 48.0
4 Michael Chadwick 48.69 48.4
5 Blake Pieroni 48.78 48.6
6 Anthony Ervin 48.54 48.6
7 Michael Jensen 49.35 48.8
8 Justin Ress 49.48 49.2

DARKHORSE: Auburn’s Zach Apple has shown great improvement since he joined the Tigers. This season, he earned All-American status individually at the 2017 NCAA Championships and scored in both sprint freestyle races. His best time is a 49.43 from 2016, but he’s already been within a couple of tenths of it with his 49.70 from this season’s Atlanta Classic.

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Adrian might not even qualify. Younger guys are really closing in on him. I can’t help but think Swim Swam is a little biased on this article.

Ex Quaker

Dude was 48.1 like a month ago…

swim dawg

He always goes 48.low at SC in may-june. Consistent is great! Adrian is great! But I don’t see a lot of change in what he is doing. I’m sure he will make the team and swim fast at worlds…but “swimmer?” Is right, the others are closing the gap.


If you mean the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fastest U.S. swimmers are closer than they were in 2012/2013… sure. But he’s not showing any sign of slowing down. Slower than 47.6 this summer would have to be a disappointment and no one but Dressel’s been within a half-second.


He was slower than 47,6 on Olympics last years, why that would be a disappointment now?


Do you think he was happy with that Rio swim?


he wasn’t totally happy with a third place finish – so he decided to work deeper on the second 50 . Lets see how it translates ….


Ya, it sounds like he is aiming to take a little bit off the first 50 and be overall faster due to a significantly faster 2nd 50.


48.1 in June, obviously he was tapered. No way he can do that in mid season.


Do you know anything about swimming? Your name implies you do but your comments say otherwise


Swimmer? is a new comer ……bit not very knowledgeable yet LOL


I am knowledgeable enough to know that you shouldn’t have too many rests per season, especially at 28 years old. I am an Adrian fan, but Dressel and Held are going to be right there. They are younger and fresher.

Ex Quaker

I think at 28, he probably knows what he’s doing. I doubt that his 48.1 was an accident.

Lauren Neidigh

Biased? I wrote the article and have no reason to be biased towards the guy. But it makes the most sense to me that he’ll be in the team… he’s easily 48-low without taper multiple times and has a really good track record of consistency.


Lauren, 47.8 at Rio tapered, and 48.1 non tapered? That is a small gap. It will probably take a 47 to make the team with Ryan Held improving.

A swimmer having only a modest taper drop (and not a massive taper explosion) is hardly a death-knell for that swimmer’s chances. Especially when that swimmer has shown up consistently enough to make the top US travel team every year for the past 9 years.


Or maybe it just means the changes he is making to that back 50 are helping that much even though he isn’t rested, and tapered he is going to for 47 low.


Adrian the reigning silver medalist. Putting him second in the predictions when he has performed consistently since Rio isn’t biased. Frankly, I was surprised to see Dressel ahead of him in the predictions considering he has yet to prove himself on an international stage in the big pool.

The Donald

Bronze. Bronze medallist


Ah yes, thank you for the correction. Still a medal though.


73 dislikes lol, I win the award for the most dislikes on swim swam


That award belongs to me. I made a comment once suggesting jail time wasn’t necessary for Brock Turner….


that actually belongs to me, i got atleast 300 downvotes on seliskars commitment article. IDK why but it got reset, i think i reached the higher integer so it looped back to 0. get gud noob


Markster’s comment had 329 downvotes a few minutes ago when I checked.

Every once in a while, SwimSwam seems to tweak the comment/rating system and comment ratings get reset site wide as a result. I had a comment on one of the Olympic Trial previews about Ledecky being the dark horse for the men’s 1500 that got into the triple digits (up-votes, in this case)… I was real proud of it, and then ratings got reset -_-


lol. Had to look it up just to see. That is a lot of downvotes.


Watch Adrian get 3rd. Maybe he will qualify, but maybe he won’t. I don’t know what to expect.


U deserve your down votes ….and u still go down that ridiculous doubtful route about Adrian ….amazing !


If I’m right, I want to hear your reaction.

bobo gigi

If Lauren would have been biased towards someone it would have been towards Dressel. Bolles connection. But towards Adrian sorry but I don’t see. Another comment just to make people react.
And sorry but in terms of downvotes I’m unbeatable. Not for one comment but if you combine all my downvotes since I comment on swimswam (around late 2011) I’m sure I’m by far first. But I don’t care. Useless tool. It brings nothing to the debate. The worst invention ever on that great swimming website.

Big Calves

Usually like your comments except when you go off the deep end about people swimming off events. As a swimmer it was always fun taking pride in being able to swim everything.


I agree, this isn’t YouTube, it’s just a conversation about swimming. I am still worried that Adrian won’t deliver at trials. Or maybe I am excited for Dressel and Held!


Tomorrow is the big day, I still predict Adrian for 3rd.

Sir Swimsalot

It will be really interesting to see what Murphy can do. I don’t think he has a shot, but who knows?


A shot at the relay, sure, why not? There are at least 8 or 10 guys in that boat with not much to separate them… at least until this summer. It’s a deep pool and I expect at least 1 or 2 will break through and go even faster than Held went last summer (including, maybe, Held).


No way Tony makes it in this race. Hate to see him go that way, but just can’t see it.


Then he does it

Ex Quaker

I agree, but remember, that’s what we all said about the Olympic 50 last year…


Not me. I predicted gold for Ervin in March of 2016. I don’t have any premonitions this year, but I would never count him out.


Agree. He’ll be Kazan-esque (if that good, based on recent swims). He’s enjoying himself. Wouldn’t count him out in Tokyo though. The man knows how to deliver.

tea rex

I think Ervin is swimming at the Macabiah Games this summer. Nice that he is still training and competing, but who would expect him to do it the same intensity that he did last year?


Lezak did the same thing after his magical relay anchor. Good for both of them.

Coach Mike 1952

And we have Dara Torres too, age 41, silver medal 50 Free, almost a gold (a scant .02 short). Ervin would only be 40 in 2020.

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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