Anthony Ervin Gives Vivid Detail of This Stage of His Swim Career


Reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 20.91 (2009)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 21.04 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 21.14 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Michael Andrew (USA) – 21.75 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Anthony Ervin (USA) – 21.40
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Nathan Adrian – 21.51
  • Wave I Cut: 23.19
  • Wave II Cut: 22.71
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 22.01
  1. Caeleb Dressel (GSC), 21.29
  2. Michael Andrew (RPC), 21.72
  3. Nathan Adrian (CAL), 21.85
  4. Bowe Becker (SAND), 21.94
  5. Michael Chadwick (NCAC), 22.00
  6. Payton Sorenson (UN-AZ), 22.08
  7. Ryan Held (NYAC), 22.10
  8. Adam Chaney (FLOR) / Sid Farber (TDPS) / Justin Ress (WOLF), 22.15
  9. Brooks Curry (LSU), 22.22
  10. Zach Apple (MVN), 22.27
  11. David Curtiss (HACY), 22.34
  12. Dillon Downing (SA), 22.38
  13. August Lamb (UVA), 22.41
  14. Will Davis (FLOR), 22.43

Caeleb Dressel has really come into his own over the last few days in Omaha, firing off some incredible swims in consecutive sessions, and he kept things rolling in the heats of the men’s 50 free.

Narrowly missing a second swim was 18-year-old Jack Alexy, the new NAG record holder in the 100 free, who placed 17th in 22.47 to move into a tie for 12th in the 17-18 age group.

Defending Olympic champion Tony Ervin ended up finishing 23rd in 22.61, while fellow veteran Matt Grevers tied for 46th in 22.98.

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Philip Johnson
1 month ago

If Ervin took the sport seriously, he might have 5 gold medals in the 50 free spanning from 2000 to 2016. His comeback in 2016 has to be one of the great swimming stories of all-time. Legend.

Old Bruin
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

He did take the sport seriously, as seriously as he could. It’s awesome that he came back in 2016 to do what he did. So proud of ALL the swimmers who battle serious mental health issues to succeed, both in and out of the pool! We know but a fraction of their stories.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Boy… … … 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

To be honest, the supersuit area would not have done good to Ervin, he’s the kind of swimmer would have benifitted the least from it. Against people like Cesar Cielo, Fred Bousquet, Alain Bernard..who were a lot more beefy, he would have faired poorly.
And that’s if we dismiss every issue and battle he had in his personal life, and idealise what “could have been”!

Reply to  CasualSwimmer
1 month ago

 Against people like Cesar Cielo, Fred Bousquet, Alain Bernard..who were a lot more beefy, he would have faired poorly.

Your last point is perfect, none of this matters because Ervin’s story is his own, and it’s an amazing and inspiring one. Nitpicking though, Cielo wasn’t really beefier than Ervin.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago


Last edited 1 month ago by CasualSwimmer
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

He made 3 Olympic teams…Just because he retired for a long while doesn’t mean he wasn’t taking it seriously. There’s more to life than swimming.

Last edited 1 month ago by MTK
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

I think Ervin took his career as seriously as he could’ve wanted to. I bet if you asked him, he wouldn’t have changed a thing about his swimming career.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

take it seriously? your saying someone who has won Olympic gold medals didnt take their sport serious? get out.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

We sometimes take it for granted that athletes are human being as well, and not robots. If Ervin never gave himself the permission to walk away after 2001, he likely would never have performed as well as he did at Rio 2016.

The emotional and psychological hurdles athletes overcome are unfortunately often invisible to us fans but they exist and are valild.

1 month ago

If you get a chance, read his book. Chasing Water. It actually does a good job of describing what happens to you AFTER you find success in the sport…the hallow feeling of where it takes you, the easiness it is to take your foot off the gas towards chasing the next dream just like the one you just achieved, and the want and need to explore other directions in your life…for him, some of that was in a poor direction, and he owns that, but to win a gold at about 19 or 20 in the 50, sort of flounder around for 10-12 years, come back and win a gold again at 35 in Rio…and close or at 40 hit… Read more »

Reply to  jim
1 month ago

Sir that’s a family channel.
Amazon Prime or Netflix however 🙂

Reply to  jim
1 month ago

He indeed is one of the most intriguing swimmers out there. He’s owned his transgressions and his story is an extremely interesting read. Very intelligent individual who has chosen to see his identity way past that of being a swimmer. A true, true sprinter if there was ever one! Enjoyed watching him through the years.

Reply to  jim
1 month ago

Best athlete’s biography I ever read, lacking all the edifying BS you read in books of this kind. Too bad it stops in 2012 – he should write an appendix!

Best sprinter ever IMHO.

It’s a pity he did not really get to test himself in the 100 free at his peak. The times he swam in relays, both in 2013 and 2016, were impressive.

please & thank you
1 month ago

USA Swimming is so lucky to have him. What a great representative for the sport.

1 month ago

Ervin should go on Joe Rogan.

1 month ago

Just watched his interview. He is incredibly eloquent.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
1 month ago

The fastest 40-year old + club :
1) Nicholas Santos
2) Dara Torres
3) Tony Ervin

DP Spellman
1 month ago

I feel lucky to be friends with Tony and to have done some swim clinics with him since 2013 in Iowa.
He was the most interesting male athlete & coach that I have met in my 30 plus years in the sport.
I’m going to take a little credit with convincing him to get involved with the dry side (governance) part of the sport……..and full credit for dragging him out to some USAS Convention karaoke 🎤 (we destroyed some Billy Idol and Depeche Mode).

Hats off to an amazing and unique racing career Tony! Lots of great memories over the years from Omaha.

1 month ago

He seems happy, healthy and at a good place in his life. Very glad to hear he will stay connected to water and swimming. He is still my favorite swimming icon.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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