2017 U.S. Worlds Trials Previews: Veterans vs. Dressel in 50 Free

Find links to all of our event-by-event previews here.

2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials

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

After winning his second Olympic gold medal 16 years removed from his first, U.S. sprinting legend Anthony Ervin looks to continue to add to his legacy at this summer’s World Championships. To do so, however, he’ll first have to cement his spot at Worlds against fellow Olympic gold medalist sprinters Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel.

Anthony Ervin (photo: Simone Castrovillari)

Ervin may be the oldest man in the field when it comes down to the 50 free final, but his age has never slowed him down. Last summer, he became the oldest Olympic swimming champion in history when he won 50 free gold in Rio. Fellow veteran sprinter Adrian, the Olympic bronze medalist and American Record holder in this event, has been slightly faster though, as their best times are separated by just 3 hundredths. They’re the only Americans still swimming that have gone 21-low without a supersuit in the last several years, and we could see them push each other to a new American Record.

Though he’s relatively young on the international stage, Florida’s Dressel poses a serious threat in this event, and could knock one of the veterans out of this race in Budapest. Dressel exploded his sophomore season (2015-16) at UF, breaking American Records in the yards pool left and right. He then qualified for his first Olympic team, winning gold as a part of the 4×100 free relay in Rio. Though he wasn’t at his best in this race during Trials last summer, Dressel is still improving, and could dip into the 21-low range as he’s already been as fast as 21.53.

While those 3 are the frontrunners, there are a handful of swimmers who could surprise us in this event. For starters, SwimMAC’s Michael Chadwick and NC State’s Ryan Held will look to build off their momentum after each put together great NCAA seasons. Chadwick has alread broken the 22-barrier, making him a likely finalist. Held may not have shown all of his cards in this race just yet. He fared better in the 100 free last summer, but demonstrated a lot of raw speed during the NCAA season that could lead to a big improvement in his 50.

Cullen Jones (photo: Tim Binning)

U.S. National Team veterans Cullen Jones and Josh Schneider will be vying for a spot in this event as well. Jones and Schneider have similar strengths. Both often extend their event schedule to the 100 free, but their 50 free speed is what they’re most well known for. Jones is an Olympic medalist in the 50 free, and was 3rd in the event at Trials last summer. Schneider continues to drop time in this race, lowering it to a 21.80 last season.

It could be a tight race for those last couple of spots in the final. Olympic Trials finalist Dillon Virva will be in the mix, and will look to break 22 for the first time after posting a 22.06 last summer. Another NCAA standout, Michigan’s Paul Powers, has been as fast as 22.17 and was 10th in this event at 2016 Trials. Age group phenom Michael Andrew has been closing in on his best time already this season, but will have to bring it down a couple of tenths if he wants a shot at the final.

Top 8 Predictions:

Place Swimmer Best Time Since 2015 Predicted Time
1 Anthony Ervin 21.40 21.4
2 Caeleb Dressel 21.53 21.4
3 Nathan Adrian 21.37 21.5
4 Michael Chadwick 21.96 21.8
5 Ryan Held 22.37 21.9
6 Cullen Jones 21.75 21.9
7 Josh Schneider 21.80 21.9
8 Paul Powers 22.17 22.0

DARKHORSE: Cal’s Michael Jensen became one of the fastest men in the NCAA during his freshman season, and will now look to translate that success into the long course pool. Jensen has already demolished his best time this season, lowering it from a 23.03 to a 22.66 in April.

In This Story


  1. pvdh says:

    Anthony Ervin will swim a 15 second 50. Quote me on that

  2. bobo gigi says:

    Nate Biondi for the win.

  3. bobo gigi says:

    More seriously I need to see Ervin’s shape in Santa Clara this weekend before making serious picks. Last year he had already swum 21.98 in May and considering he’s a big taper swimmer, that indicated big things to come for the summer.
    So far his best time in 2017 is only 22.74. And his 100s are very slow. We’ll know more after Santa Clara.
    Dressel should win the race in Indianapolis.

  4. Brownie says:

    Caeleb wins it all!!!!!!!

  5. tea rex says:

    Is it just me, or is every tattooed swimmer a sprinter?

  6. tm71 says:

    I don’t think Anthony is in mid 21 shape this year even with a taper. I see dressel winning and Adrian second.

  7. IMs for days says:

    As cool as it was to see Ervin win on rio, I just don’t feel like he will get their this year. I’m even wondering about him breaking 22 to be honest right now( he probably will, but). I’m saying
    Dressel 21.39
    Adrian 21.61 (Much more focus on the 100 this year)

  8. ellie says:

    Ervin won’t be in Budapest, for sure.

  9. John says:

    If ever there was an event I’d like to see “3 per country” rule brought back its this one this summer

    • Person says:

      100 back from last year’s OTs. It was honestly heartbreaking to see Grevers’ expression afterwards

  10. Tom from Chicago says:

    I hope the Dressel optimism holds for LCM. Sometimes the best SCY swimmers are just ok at LCM. I think Dressel’s biggest weapon are his underwaters, so his 100 will need top speed.

    Also, there are more people than Adrian and Dressel who could win these sprints. This is a good thing for US relays.

  11. Dcrabbe6 says:

    Adrian and dressel for sure. Ervin is slackin this year

  12. Sir Swimsalot says:

    I just can’t decide. I’ll just pan back and watch it happen I guess.

  13. Stallion6 says:

    Adrian & Dressel make it. I see Ervin getting like 4th or 5th at world champ trials. Then again I didn’t think he was going to make the Olympic team last summer…

  14. Stallion6 says:

    I don’t see Ervin making it top two in this. Adrian and Dressel

Leave a Reply

Name will be published. Email address will not. By commenting you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently working on her M.A. in …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!