Justin Ress in emerging as one of the best backstrokers in the United States. He swam for the Marlins of Raleigh before heading to North Carolina State University to follow in his mothers footsteps. She also swam for the Wolfpack from 1984-1988. In his sophomore season, Ress became an NCAA Champion in the 800 meter freestyle relay.
North Carolina State University
In his freshman campaign, Ress earned All-American honors in the 800 yard freestyle relay after helping the Wolfpack take the silver medal at the NCAA Championships. He was also named the ACC Freshman of the Year.
With one year of experience under his belt, Ress became a national champion in the 800 yard freestyle relay at the NCAA Championships. The team broke the national and U.S. Open record. He also helped NC State to a forth place finish in the 200 yard freestyle relay, seventh in the 400 yard freestyle relay and 12th in the 400 medley relay.
Ress started off the 2018 NCAA Championships by teaming up with Andreas Vazaios, Ryan Held, and Jacob Molacek to smash the U.S. Open record in the 800 free relay. Ress anchored in the 1:30.77 to catch pass leader Indiana and touch at 6:05.31.
On night 2, he again had the fastest split of the team in the 200 free relay, going second and registering an 18.31, aiding NC State to a close 2nd place finish. Later in the session, Ress swam in the B-final to touch 10th in the 50 free at 19.06. He was back in the pool in no time to anchor the 400 medley relay, splitting a 40.82 on freestyle to again aid the wolfpack to a 2nd place finish.
On the final day of competition, Ress swam the 100 freestyle 4 times, splitting 40.35 in the morning of the 400 free relay and qualifying 4th in the 100 free with a 41.34. He finished in 3rd in the 100 free that night at 41.49 and went 2nd of the 400 free relay, splitting 40.62 and helping the wolfpack break the U.S. Open record in that event for the second time that day.
Ress qualified for the 100 and 200 meter backstroke at the 2016 Olympic Trials, where he finished 11th in the 200 and 12th in the 100.
At the 2017 US Nationals/World Championship Trials, Ress earned his first major international call up. A gold medal in the 50 meter backstroke secured his spot on the World Championship roster. He finished in 24.41 to set a new championship record and beat the past two Olympic Champions in the 100 meter backstroke, Matt Grevers and Ryan Murphy, in the process. That time is also the fastest of 2017 so far. He added a bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke behind Grevers and Murphy in a new best time of 53.38.
2017 World Championships
In Budapest, Ress made the final of the 50 meter backstroke, finishing 6th in 24.77.
2017 World University Games
Because he only swam the 50 Backstroke at the World Championships, Ress also qualified to compete at the World University Games, where he swam more of a full schedule. On Day 1, he teamed up with Maxime Rooney, Ryan Held, and Justin Lynch to take gold in the 4x100m Free Relay, where he split 48.07, the fastest of Team USA. On Day 2, Ress blew the field away in the finals of the 100m back, taking gold by almost a second with a time of 53.29. On Day 4, he was able to strike silver in the 50m backstroke, getting touched out by Ireland’s Shane Ryan, 24.72 to 24.73.
2018 U.S. National Championships
Ress was the runnerup in the 50 backstroke (24.31) and finished third in the 100 backstroke (53.26), both personal bests, at the Phillips 66 National Championships. His 3rd place finish in the 100 back got him a spot on the 2018 Pan Pac team. He also placed fourth in the B final of the 100 freestyle (12th overall, 48.74).