It took until the 2nd-to-last individual race at the USA Swimming Junior Nationals in Palo Alto, California to score a National Age Group Record, but surely enough it did go down.
In an A-Final full of 17 and 18 year olds, 14-year old Caeleb Dressel of the Bolles School in Florida just barely nipped the boys 13-14 50 free record in 23.50.
That time betters the previous mark of Jason Cobb (23.52) done all the way back in 1997. Cobb was one of the great talents ever wasted in USA Swimming; his career peaked at 15 before he was kicked off of his club and high school teams for drug use. He would later go on to swim at Wright State for a few months, but that was the last anybody ever heard from him.
Back to Dressel, he might be the answer to the “where are the young sprinters?” question that has been asked frequently in the past month about USA Swimming. He’s still a few years of being ready for any sort of international competition, but by the 2016 Olympics he will still only be 20, and has a chance to be very good. But still, that’s a long way off.
For reference, Dressell swam a 52.53 in the 100 free earlier in the meet. He’s also got great potential in the 200 IM (2:13.9) and 100 fly (1:00.87), and he’s even better in short course.