Ben Proud Rattles Dressel’s World Record With 20.18 50 Free, #2 Swim All-Time

2023 EUROPEAN SHORT COURSE SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ben Proud‘s incredible run of dominance in the men’s 50 freestyle continued on Thursday at the European Short Course Championships in Otopeni, as the British sprinter dropped the second-fastest swim in history to win gold while narrowly missing the world record.

Proud scorched his way to a time of 20.18, breaking the nine-year-old European Record of 20.26 held by Florent Manaudou while coming within two one-hundredths of the 20.16 world record set by Caeleb Dressel in November 2020.

The 29-year-old Proud came into the competition with a lifetime best and British Record of 20.40, set during the International Swimming League (ISL) season in 2021, and he had shown signs he was in the type of form that could challenge that mark early in the meet.

He led off the British men’s record-breaking relay in 20.56 on Tuesday, and then put up a time of 20.66 in Wednesday’s semi-finals.

The London native took things up another notch on Thursday, with his performance moving him up from #6 to #2 on the all-time performers’ list, leapfrogging Manaudou, Jordan Crooks and Vladimir Morozov.

All-Time Performers, Men’s 50 Freestyle (SCM)

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 20.16 – 2020 ISL Final
  2. Ben Proud (GBR), 20.18 – 2023 SC Euros
  3. Florent Manaudou (FRA), 20.26 – 2014 SC Worlds
  4. Roland Schoeman (RSA), 20.30 – 2009 South African Champs
  5. Jordan Crooks (CAY) / Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 20.31 – 2022 SC Worlds / 2017 SC Euros

In addition to Manaudou’s European Record and his own British Record, Proud also lowered the Championship Record of 20.31 set by Morozov in 2017 and the Commonwealth Record of 20.30 set by Roland Schoeman in 2009.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 50 Freestyle (SCM)

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 20.16 – 2020 ISL Final
  2. Ben Proud (GBR), 20.18 – 2023 SC Euros
  3. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 20.24 – 2019 ISL Final
  4. Florent Manaudou (FRA), 20.26 – 2014 SC Worlds
  5. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 20.28 – 2020 ISL Semi-Final 2
  6. Roland Schoeman (RSA), 20.30 – 2009 South African Champs
  7. Jordan Crooks (CAY) / Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 20.31 – 2022 SC Worlds / 2017 SC Euros
  8. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 20.33 – 2018 SC Worlds
  9. Jordan Crooks (CAY), 20.36 – 2022 SC Worlds

RACE VIDEO

Manaudou, 33, was a distant runner-up to Proud in Thursday’s final in a time of 20.74, tying with defending champion Szebasztian Szabo for the silver medal.

After the semis, Proud mentioned the SC Euro title was the only one he didn’t have in his collection in the 50 free outside of the Olympics. He won the SC World title in 2021, and then in 2022, swept the LC World, Commonwealth and LC European titles in a history-making nine months (he also won the 2018 LC Euro title).

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Deepwaters
2 months ago

Does anyone have a suggestion as to why Proud wears a nose clip on the 50m Freestyle event, I always thought it was mostly exclusive to backstroke races due to having to trickle air out on your back during the underwater phase?

Swimdude
2 months ago

I’m very interested in Proud’s reaction time. .58 is exceptionally fast, and in all his best swims throughout his career he’s been great off the blocks, one of the few even faster than Dressel. Looking at his history with a couple DQs for false starts in major competitions, does that mean he’s trying to anticipate the start/is better at it than most? Not trying to accuse him of anything but interesting to consider why he is consistently an outlier with reaction time

Jimmyswim
2 months ago

LOL why are the majority of comments like “WELL ACKSHUALLY it’s not impressive because Caeleb could be much faster he just doesn’t care about SCM, remember when he swam fast in SCY 6 years ago!?”

Alison England
Reply to  Jimmyswim
2 months ago

It’s what we’ve come to expect on this site.

Koen
Reply to  Jimmyswim
2 months ago

At NCAAs we’ll just have to imagine what times sjöström, kromo, or peaty could have swam in scy fully tapered and how much faster it would have been than person x

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Koen
2 months ago

we should start bemoaning how there was never an isl season in scy

Troyy
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

we should not

FST
Reply to  Koen
2 months ago

To be fair, Peaty wouldn’t have been as otherworldly as he was/is in LCM.

Alison England
Reply to  FST
2 months ago

You’re right there.

Joel
2 months ago

Reading the comments now – it’s mostly about what Dressel could have done in 2020 because it was in winter or fall or his start wasn’t good or his dog died or something. (Same applies for Proud btw).
If Proud breaks the WR I’d like it to be celebrated. In fact this swim should be celebrated.

Troyy
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

They’re triggered cos Proud almost broke his WR.

Alison England
Reply to  Joel
2 months ago

I agree. I know this is an American site, but so many of these comments are simply laughable. Let’s just celebrate Proud’s swim, and think about how exciting the 50 free will be in Paris.

Alison England
2 months ago

I’d hardly call him a London native. Yes, he was born in London, but he grew up in Malaysia, having moved there with his parents when he was 5 months old. He returned to England aged 16, to go to boarding school and train at Plymouth College.

Broken Crown
Reply to  Alison England
2 months ago

Did you cry when the Queen died?

Alison England
Reply to  Broken Crown
2 months ago

Most definitely not.

Beverly Drangus
2 months ago

Not the best camera angles

BigBoiJohnson
2 months ago

The amount of near misses we’ve had with regard to WRs in recent years is genuinely frustrating

Jimmy DeSnuts
Reply to  BigBoiJohnson
2 months ago

especially in the 50, not sure if that’s specifically what you meant but its definitely true

Anfrizio
2 months ago

Actually, Roland Schoeman still is 4th in the All-Time Performers and 6th in the All-Time Performances with his 20.30 from ’09.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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