Justin Ress

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

Justin Ress is a 2x World Champion and NCAA Champion who swims of the United States Competitively.

Justin Ress 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 was a member of the Wolfpack’s NCAA runnerup 800 free relay, alongside Andreas Vazaios, Coleman Stewart and Jacob Molacek, anchoring the team’s 6:06.63. He added another silver medal as part of the 200 free relay (1:14.78) with Molacek, Nyls Korstanje and Giovanni Izzo, and the 400 free relay with Molacek, Korstanje and Stewart (2:46.25). Ress also was a member of the third place 200 medley relay team.

Individually, Ress finished seventh in the 100 free (42.00), eighth in the 50 free (19.10), 15th in the 100 back (45.66) at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.

At the Big 12 championships, Ress earned gold in the 200 medley relay (1:22.37). He was part of the runnerup 200 free relay (1:16.00), the third place 400 free relay and fourth place 800 free relay (6:16.48).

Individually, Ress finished third in the 50 free (19.29) and 100 free (42.41) and eighth in the 200 free (1:34.74) at the conference meet.

National/International Career

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).

ISL – Cali Condors

On June 11, 2019, Justin Ress was announced as a member of the Cali Condors ISL team, headed by GM Jason Lezak

2019 World University Games

Ress started off his meet with the 100 back, going into finals as the top qualifier with a 53.47. In finals, he touched for bronze in a time of 53.81. Next Ress swam the 5o back, breaking the meet record in the 1st heat of semi-finals (24.52), before it was broken again in the 2nd heat by Zane Waddell (24.46). In Finals, Waddell and Ress tied for gold in a time of 24.48. Ress ended his program with the 4×100 medley relay, where he led off Team USA in 53.31 en route to a gold medal.

2022 World Championships

After missing the 2020 Olympic team, Ress made it back onto the world championship team, qualifying as a member of the 4×100 free relay. He was also 2nd in the 50 back at the US Trials (and 2nd ranked in the world), therefore earned an individual spot in the 50 back.

In Budapest, Ress made the most of his opportunities. On day 1, he swam the heats of the 400 free relay, splitting 47.5 and earning a spot in the finals. In the final, Ress split 47.4 to help USA dominate the heat and win gold.

In the 50 back, Ress was top seed heading into the final, his USA teammate Hunter Armstrong 2nd seed. Ress touched first in the final at 24.12, initially winning his first individual world title. However, he was called for a DQ which stood through the medal ceremony. After the medal ceremony, however, it was announced that the DQ had been overturned, once again making Ress a world champion.

2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Ress opened his meet with a personal best of 48.14 in the 100 free prelims. It was good enough for the 6th seed, a place which he maintained in finals while he added a mere .04 seconds. The swim was good enough to qualify him for the men’s 4×100 free relay. 

In the prelims of the 50 back, it was Hunter Armstrong who led the field with a 24.20, just .01 seconds ahead of Ress. Ress and Armstrong have been dueling across the Pro Swim Series all season. Ress was able to flip the seeds in finals as Armstrong got 2nd by just .06 seconds. His time of 24.10 was good enough to supplant Kliment Kolesnikov as the world leader in the 50 back.

In the 100 back, Ress finished 3rd behind Armstrong and Ryan Murphy and so missed out on qualification in the 100 back.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

Ress had a very limited but spread out schedule at Worlds, taking on the 400 free relay on day 1 and the 50 back on day 7 and 8. In the 400 free relay, Ress swam a solid 47.88 on the prelims relay. The finals squad placed 3rd and earned bronze. In the 50 back, Ress led prelims with a 24.18 and was 1st in semis with a 24.35. In the final in the final it was Hunter Armstrong’s revenge from last year’s medal debacle and Ress ended up silver with a 24.24.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 50 Back 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2022 World Championships
Silver 50 Back 2023 World Championships
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2023 World Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 50 Free 21.91 06/19/21 2021 Olympic Trials
Omaha, Nebraska
lcm 100 Free 48.14 06/27/23 2023 International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana
lcm 50 Back 23.92 04/28/22 2022 World Championship Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 100 Back 52.73 04/29/22 2022 World Championship Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
scm 50 Free 20.95 11/21/20 2020 ISL Final
Budapest, Hungary
scm 100 Free 45.70 11/28/21 2021 ISL Match 17
Eindhoven, Netherlands
scm 100 Back 50.12 08/29/21 2021 ISL Match 2
Naples, Italy
scy 50 Free 18.96 02/22/18 2018 ACC Championships
Atlanta, Georgia
scy 100 Free 41.34 03/24/18 2018 NCAA Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota
scy 200 Free 1:32.66 02/23/18 2018 ACC Championships
Atlanta, Georgia
scy 100 Back 45.33 03/29/19 2019 NCAA Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Back 1:40.26 03/02/17 2017 ACC Championships
Atlanta, Georgia
Justin Ress (photo: Jack Spitser) Justin Ress (photo: Jack Spitser) Justin Ress (photo: Jack Spitser) RESS Justin CAC Cali Condors (CAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 7 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto The victorious NC State 800 free relay team of Ryan Held, Simonas Bilis, Justin Ress,and Soeren Dahl accept their gold medals after defeating second place Louisville 6:12.76 to 6:14.96. Both team's efforts were well below the NCAA "A" cut of 6:21.54. (Photo credit: Tim Binning/TheSwimPictures.com). Justin Ress 2017 USA Swimming World Team Trials (photo: Mike Lewis) Justin Ress (photo: Jack Spitser)