2019 US MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: CAELEB DRESSEL
After a rocky 2018 Pan Pacs, Caeleb Dressel came back with a vengeance at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Dressel won 8 total medals, the most won by any swimmer in history at a single World Championships meet. That included 4 individual gold, 2 relay golds, and 2 relay silvers.
His individual campaign at Worlds saw Dressel sweep the sprint butterflies and sprint freestyles. He set new American Records in the 50 free, 100 free, and 50 fly. Dressel set his first individual World Record of his career in the 100 fly semifinals, breaking the mark formerly set by Olympic legend Michael Phelps. He finished just over a tenths shy of his record to win finals. Dressel is now the back-to-back champion in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly, and in a challenging year for the U.S. men at the World Championships, he was the only American male to win individual gold.
Dressel’s relay golds came in the men’s 4×100 free relay and the mixed 4×100 free relay. In the mixed free relay, he led off as the Americans set a new World Record. Dressel earned silvers as a part of the USA squad in the mixed 4×100 medley relay and men’s 4×100 medley relay. His fly split on the men’s medley was the fastest 100 fly relay split in history.
Dressel also made waves in the ISL’s inaugural season for the Cali Condors. At the ISL Finale, he broke his first short course meters World Record as he won the 50 free. He also set the U.S. Open and American Records in the 50 fly and 100 free, and was named the Championship MVP.
In no particular order
- Zach Apple– At 2019 Worlds, Apple earned 4 relay medals. He produced a 46.86 on the men’s 4×100 free relay to help them to gold. He also earned gold in the mixed 4×100 free relay, silver in the men’s 4×100 medley relay, and bronze in the 4×200 free relay. At the 2019 World University Games, Apple took gold in the 100 free and 200 free. He helped the Americans to relay golds there in the men’s 4×100 free, men’s 4×200 free, and men’s 4×100 medley.
- Ryan Held– At 2019 U.S. Nationals, Held had a breakthrough performance in the 100 free. He hadn’t swum his best in the 100 free since he qualified for Rio in 2016, but he swam nearly a second under that time at Nationals, setting a new U.S. Open Record. He’s now the 3rd fastest American man in history in the event.
- Jay Litherland – With all eyes on the defending World Champion in the 200 and 400 IMs Chase Kalisz, Litherland broke through and took silver in the 400 IM in Gwangju in 4:09.22. The men’s 400 IM globally is not a very deep event at the moment, and Litherland this summer was the only one within striking distance of Japan’s Daiya Seto in that event. Seto is the presumed favorite to win in front of a home crowd in Tokyo.