Caeleb Dressel vs. Adam Peaty – An Analysis of the 100 Breaststroke

At the 2018 SEC Championship meet, University of Florida swimmer Caeleb Dressel broke the U.S. Open, American, and NCAA records with the fastest 100 yard breaststroke ever recorded. The Florida Gator broke the NCAA and American Records by .01, knocking Kevin Cordes‘s 2014 mark of 50.04 down with his 50.03.

With the collaboration of Stefano Nurra, a video analyst and coach for the Turkish Swimming Federation, the Energy Standard Swim Club, and the Austrian Swimming Federation, we present an analysis of Dressel’s race.

We have also compared the Dressel’s 100 breast with the 100 short course meters race from Adam Peaty European Short Course Championship race.




The analysis of Dressel’s race shows us, the amazing performance of the American athlete.


One of the main points is the incredible speed he has to the first 15 meters. 00:05.39 is a good time not just for a breaststroke but for some freestylers!

It is important to remember that Russian swimmer Vlad Morozov swam the 50 meter free at the Europeans in short course with a time of 20.31 his first 15 meter start was a 00:05.22.

Another incredible parameter is the length of underwater phase. He is able to swim 66.49 % of the event underwater, with the times of the first 15 meters of every length being close to the same speed.

This analysis shows us also three marginal gains, the first one a little bit more important than the other two.

After the very fast split of the first 15 meters, there is a low peak of the speed, this is the first breakout.

Before every turn it is possible to observe a little break of the stroke rate, which is not the best approach for the turn.

Towards the end of the race, for sure because of fatigue, both parameters decrease a little, both the stroke rate and distance per stroke are decreasing.



The analysis of Peaty’s 100 short course meters breaststroke race at the European Short Course Championships, show us an amazing performance of the British athlete.

The main feature is the ability to be efficient in the swimming part, above all at the end of each 25 meters length. It is amazing to see the management of the stroke rate in the swimming part.

The energy showed is absolutely amazing.

Peaty has an unbelievably-fast approach to the wall. This is a very interesting parameter due to the value of stroke rate getting lower compared to the swimming part.

It could be interesting to study the best balance between stroke rate and speed.

Peaty’s breakouts are not as long and the speed of his first 15 metres of every 25 metres is not as fast as that of Dressel’s. It is easy to observe the slower time of the first 15 metres.


Caeleb Dressel and Adam Peaty are currently the leaders of short course 100 breast in the world (with Dressel’s ability in LCM to be determined).

The individual analysis of both Dressel and Peaty shows us some important details both positive and negative.

The matter of real importance is the comparison of both performances to understand two different strategies from two very different athletes. It is very difficult to compare one race in yards with an other in metres. We have only few parameters usefull to compare, of course not the split or lap time.

The main parameter we can analyse  is the speed. In this way we can compare some portion of the race from different courses. It is possible to compare also some other parameters to make a good picture of the races.



To analyze two incredible athletes that swim the same race so differently is very interesting. It is interesting to observe two different strategies and abilities.

The analysis shows us the differences with the measured data and how it seems with a naked eye.

Of course the start is the main point. Dressel’s time in 15 meters is faster, more than a second better than Peaty, almost 20% faster.

The net speed of the entirety of the turns is not so different in the end. The main difference is in the turn. Peaty is absolutely faster approaching the wall and Dressel unbelievably fast off the wall.

Peaty is faster than Dressel at the end of every length.

The length of underwater phase is so different. It is possible to note that the main focus of the American athlete is underwater and the Bristish athlete’s is the swimming part.

Stroke rate and distance per stroke shows us the different management of the race and the different characteristics of both athletes. The main point of the analysis is that both athletes have some marginal gains.

It will be interesting to see the evolution of both athletes and to analyse next important competition when they will swim together. For sure them and their coaches know these details and the will look for ways to improve, especially for Dressel if he continues to pursue the stroke internationally.

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I don’t understand how this is even a discussions. Adam Peaty is so much faster than Dressel at Breastroke about the water, it isn’t even funny. Remember Dressel only went a SINGLE One Hundredth faster than college aged Cordes did over a 100, while using superior start and underwater pulldowns. Meanwhile Peaty DESTROYS Cordes every time they race.


It isn’t a discussion now, but just think of the context.

1.)Dressel isn’t even training for a 100 breast and he broke Cordes’s record. He’s training breaststroke as part of the IM group he works with

2.) there’s no chance he’s in peak condition right now. Come NC’s he legitimately could be 49 mid or low, and still without training for it

No he can’t beat Peaty in a 100 breast. Nobody in the world is close. But over the course of two years, if Dressel was to make 100 Breast his sole goal like Peaty does, I don’t put it past him to be the one to possibly match Peaty


Worth noting; Peaty wasn’t at peak for his SCM swim either.

Either way, ultimately we agree, Dressed would see no more than Peaty’s feet in a LC 100br.


Also worth noting: we are talking about Dressel’s third best stroke here.


While I agree that Dressel would 100% be outclassed by Peaty in long course, it does say that Dressel would have a very good chance at beating Peaty in the short course meters 100 breast. While this isn’t a huge deal as of now in the long course world, it’s still pretty cool to see that Dressel could be internationally relevant (at least in SCM) in breaststroke. I’d love to see Dressel go to SCM Worlds this year and break the WRs in 50 free, 100 fly/breast/free/IM, and give a run at the 200 IM.


I see someone stole my name. Time to find another one then…


I’d be very surprised if dressel could get the scm 50free WR . It’s insanly fast. The 100fly/IM is definitely a possibility


I agree to an extent however keep in mind that this was one of the first times Dressel swam this event at a big meet. He probably still has a lot of experience to gain from now until Tokyo in the 100 breast.


what we know for sure: Peaty’s pullouts are terrible and Dressel’s are amazing.

das swimmer

terrible? he’s the top ever 100br lcm by a long shot


watch a race; I didn’t say he was not the “top ever 100 br lcm by a long shot”; I said his pullouts were terrible. And if they were good, he’d be even faster.


Yea and hes always playing catch up by about half a body length right of the start!


He’s the best on top of the water swimmer ever, by a long shot, but his pull-outs are very weak compared to other top breastrokers


This analysis, while interesting, tells us what we already knew; Dressel would get close SC, but he’d be a long way back LC. Also drives home just how bad Peaty’s pullouts are.


dont understand why Peaty’s pullouts are lacking. Dude’s upper body looks like a tank


I think it’s as much his butterfly kick; In stroke, everything flows so beautifully, as much as be is all power, it’s still brilliantly rhythmic. But, from kicking off the wall, to breakout, it just looks a little more rushed; almost like he knows it’s a weakness and he just wants to get into stroke as soon as he can… I know that isn’t the case, as Mel and Adam have improved that area of his race hugely since 2014, but it just doesn’t look comfortable for him at all.

Steve Nolan

A lot might be a lack of power off the blocks/walls and bodyline.

Dude’s prolly skipping leg day, is what I’m saying.


Narrow whip kick lends well to maintaining stroke rate and momentum but not in pullouts where you need a more traditional ‘W’ kick.

Tammy Touchpad Error



He’s completely jacked but he might not have the same leg power that dressel has. Dressel’s jump is insane whereas peaty’s is much more pedestrian. We’ve also seen that dressel’s dolphin kick is incredible whereas peaty’s also appears to be fairly weak. However, peaty’s breastroke kick is the best on the planet in terms of consistency, speed and timing

About Giusy Cisale

Giusy Cisale

Ha frequentato il Liceo Classico "T.L. Caro" dove era impegnata nella redazione della rivista scolastica. Nel 2002 è tra le più giovani laureate in Giurisprudenza dell'Università Federico II di Napoli (ITA). Inizia il percorso di Avvocato Civilista, conseguendo nel 2006 l'abilitazione all'esercizio della professione di avvocato. Si avvicina al nuoto quasi per caso, …

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