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.

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4 years ago

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

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Nate Biondi for the win.

JP input is too short
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Matt Biondi for the win!

bobo gigi
4 years ago

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 years ago

Caeleb wins it all!!!!!!!

tea rex
4 years ago

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

Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

I think its just you. Pretty sure all the 10k olympians have tattoos so do the milers. and Mid distance guys and IMers

Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

Nathan doesn’t even have the Olympic rings!

Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

Townley Haas has a tattoo

Reply to  Horninco
4 years ago

And a sub 19 50fr

Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
4 years ago

In practice, of course

4 years ago

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

IMs for days
4 years ago

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)

4 years ago

Ervin won’t be in Budapest, for sure.

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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