Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Last week’s Sette Colli Trophy was a shockingly fast meet that even included a world record. But our Swim of the Week seemed to inspire even more awe and discussion than that: Ben Proud‘s 21.16 in the 50 free.
The time for Proud is just .01 seconds off the fastest ever swum in textile. The only swimmers ever to top it are Cesar Cielo and Fred Bousquet (both in bodysuits) and Caeleb Dressel, who was 21.15 while winning gold at last year’s World Championships. The swim sets up exactly what swim fans hope for during this year of the Olympic cycle: a cross-world competition that gets to simmer for well over a year before a head-to-head showing in a world-level meet. Dressel, of course, is likely to return to Worlds for the Americans, while Proud should be on Great Britain’s team for 2019. Neither will compete directly this year, though, as the U.S. focuses on Pan Pacs and Great Britain on Euros in the absence of a World Championships or Olympic meet.
Dressel will get a chance to answer back later this month at U.S. Nationals, while Proud gets to return serve just a week later at Euros. Then it’s Dressel’s turn again at Pan Pacs two weeks after that. If all goes well for both men, we could see one of the most dramatic events we can see in a non-World Champ/Olympic year: a game of clap-backs stretching months in arguably swimming’s most exciting race.
As for Proud, the 23-year-old World Champs bronze medalist gets to lead the world by a full two tenths of a second with his 2017 focus meet yet to come.
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