After NCAAs, How Fast Can Dressel Swim Meters? (Dressel Time Conversions)

Last week Caeleb Dressel wowed the swimming community with an all-time dominant performance in the 2018 NCAA Men’s championships. Not only did he break three of his own individual event records in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, he did so on the heels of a SEC championships where he also broke the NCAA records in the 100 breastroke and 200 IM. He will unquestionably go down as one of the, if not the greatest, NCAA swimmers of all time.

As he sadly wraps up his collegiate career, it leaves us swim fans wondering how much of his wild success will carry over as he transitions over to international long course swimming full-time. He will both be competing on a large stage and making the switch from SCY to LCM. Of course by most standards, Dressel has already had a great international swimming career. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, he lead off on USA’s gold medal winning 400 free relay, finished 8th individually in the 100 free, and anchored the 400 medley relay in prelims.

  • At the 2017 World Championships, we saw Dressel first reach some of the same wild successes long-course that he had short course. There, he won three individual gold medals, in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly – setting new American records in the 50 and 100 free and finishing a mere .04 off of Phelps’ suited world record in the 100 fly.
  • 47.17 100 Free- American Record
  • 21.15 50 free- American record
  • 49.86 100 Fly- .04 off Michael Phelp’s World Record

Clearly, Dressel has improved dramatically just in the past year short course. Let’s see how his new top times convert to long course using SwimSwam’s real time converter. I’m using his age of 21 – yes he’s still only 21! – in the conversions. To reference exactly how bonkers these times are, I’ve included the current world records as well for reference.

Event SCY Best Time Converted SCY to LCM Converted SCY to SCM Current LCM WR Dressel LCM Best
50 Free 17.63 20.42 19.57 20.91 21.15
100 Free 39.90 45.97 44.39 46.91 47.17
100 Fly 42.80 49.20 47.58 49.82 49.86
100 Breast 50.03 58.44 54.80 57.13 1:02.26
200 IM 1:38.13 1:53.73 1:48.93 1:54.00 2:04.60

Four world records! He is still a bit short of Peaty’s in the 100 breast, but that’s Dressel’s his fifth best event. Can Dressel actually go some of these times? Perhaps not all of his short-course speed and dynamic turns and underwaters will cary over to LCM swimming. A good comparison though is Cesar Cielo who owns the current (suited) LCM WR times in the 50 and 100 free. Dressel has already blown away his SCY records of 18.47 and 40.92, so it would not be a surprise to see him break them LCM as well. I think its likely that Dressel’s short-course times will always be stronger than his long-course times – but just based off of this potential I’m excited to watch to see what he does!

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Let the guessing games begin…

Free: 21.0/46.9/1.45.5
Fly: 22.6/49.5
Breast: 59.2
IM: 1.54.6


I doubt he swims breast for anything more than IM

The Boi Swim

I feel like breast for Dressel is kind of gonna be like back for Phelps, where he was very good and certainly had potential, but was just better at other events.


I feel like back for Dressel is gonna be like back for Phelps… Dressel is obviously one of the best breaststrokers in the world, but that doesn’t mean he is gonna do it


I agree with the free and fly but he definitely wont swim Breast and IM is still a little fast I think. 1:55.0 IF he focuses on it this summer, meaning he swims it at nationals and pan pacs


Yeah, my breast was more a speculation of what js possible if he were to!


I think he can do a 20 mid 50 free and a 49 mid to low 100 fly (depending how much he trains, as Phelps showed going that WR, exceptional multi-event swimmers can often drop big by focussing on one event). Sub-46 would be insane for 100 free. VdH first went sub-48 in 2000 and we still haven’t seen a sub-47 in textile. To cut 46 out altogether and go 45 would be Beamon-esque, particularly given the 100 free’s prominence in the swimming world. Personally I think he’ll do 46 mid by the time he retires. 200 IM too difficult to say whilst he’s not really tried it Long Course. That record was set by the two greatest male IMers… Read more »


Phelps didn’t show “anything” there he just put on a full body LZR. Before that 100 fly he had only used the leg skin. That couple 0.1s could come from that, he didn’t drop that much compared to his PB.


He won the 2008 race by one one hundredth, if he thought wearing a full suit vs a legging made that much difference, why still choose the legging in Beijing?


He didn’t like the feeling of the full body suit and felt like it restricted his movement in butterfly, in 2009 I think he realized that he would need the full body LZR to even be able to compete with everyone wearing the Arena X-glide


Fair enough, but given how close that race was, that decision was either super gutsy or reckless.

Michael j. Mooney

Just want him to get the 100 Free and Fly WR’s this Spring or Summer. 50 will be easy..
20.88, 46.80, and 49.55… predictions.


He went from 50.58 to 49.82 in a year..I agree that the full body suit made a difference but .76 is more than just a suit.


“.76 is more than just a suit”

Dressel is remarkable


To be fair a large part of that ’08 to ’09 drop for Phelps was because he :

1) didnt completely crunch the finish like in Beijing
2) wasn’t nearly as fatigued (he said in his book just how tired he had gotten when it came to doing his 100 fly i.e. 7th event at beijing)
3) The remainder was some combination of the LZR full body suit and physiological improvement


I think training is a factor, too. He and Bowman have both talked about how much less he trained after Beijing. He went from monster practices multiple times a day to skipping and not taking stuff seriously. While that training wouldn’t have helped in, say, the 400 IM, it’s possible that the reduced volume of training helped his speed, while doing just enough to maintain some of the aerobic base built up in the leadup to Beijing.

Ol' Longhorn

Considering his breast and IM were not with a full taper, who knows what he can go in those? And considering how much time he dropped in other events from SECs to NCAAs, he’d likely be 1:36 high in SCY 200 IM fully prepared. The rumor is that he’s training for a big 200 LCM IM. He made it a point to say that the 200 free relay had only one sprinter —- and it wasn’t him. If he took down the 200 IM record this summer, it would be a marketing bonanza in the lead up to Rio as a pro. The more potential event wins he can post, the more the buzz there will be about him breaking/matching… Read more »


If anyone can break Phelp’s 8 golds its Dressel but i think it’s just too many events to perform like he wants to. I guess you have to weigh up between peak performance with incredible WR’s or more medals