Caeleb Dressel Claims Top 2020-2021 World Time in 50 Free at 21.29


Day 7 Prelims Recap

Taking the top time in the world for the 2020-2021 season was the Caeleb Dressel in the 50-meter free, putting up the top prelims times of the morning at 21.29. Earlier in the meet, Dressel smashed the U.S. Open/national championship record in the 100 fly at 49.76, during semifinals. He also tied the U.S. Open/national championship record in the 100 free at 47.39, also owned by Ryan Held, who placed 6th in the same final.

That swim this morning registers as the 23rd-fastest performance all-time, now Dressel’s 5th entry in the list, replicating his 21.29 from the 2017 World Championships for his 5th-best 50 free in his career.

Dressel’s All-Time 50 FR Performances

  • #4 — 21.04, 2019 World Championships
  • #9 — 21.15, 2017 World Championships
  • #12 — 21.18, 2019 World Championships
  • #23 — 21.29, 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials**/2017 World Championships

Dressel’s fastest 50 free on American soil before this meet was at the 2019 Swim Meet of Champions and the 2020 Pro Swim Series in Des Moines, where he put up his career No. 7/8 times of 21.51. The U.S. Open and U.S. national championship record still rests at 21.14 from 2009, held by Beijing Olympic champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil.

The current U.S. national championship record of 21.47 by Garrett Weber-Gale in 2008 is no longer standing. Cielo’s 21.14 was swam during the B-final at the 2009 U.S. Nationals, after placing 2nd in prelims due to his international status, therefore making that the current record.

2020-2021 LCM Men 50 Free

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Reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 20.91 (2009)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 21.04 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 21.14 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Michael Andrew (USA) – 21.75 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Anthony Ervin (USA) – 21.40
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Nathan Adrian – 21.51
  • Wave I Cut: 23.19
  • Wave II Cut: 22.71
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 22.01
  1. Caeleb Dressel (RPC), 21.29
  2. Michael Andrew (RPC), 21.72
  3. Nathan Adrian (CAL), 21.85
  4. Bowe Becker (SAND), 21.94
  5. Michael Chadwick (NCAC), 22.00
  6. Payton Sorenson (UN-AZ), 22.08
  7. Ryan Held (NYAC), 22.10
  8. Adam Chaney (FLOR) / Sid Farber (TDPS) / Justin Ress (WOLF), 22.15
  9. Brooks Curry (LSU), 22.22
  10. Zach Apple (MVN), 22.27
  11. David Curtiss (HACY), 22.34
  12. Dillon Downing (SA), 22.38
  13. August Lamb (UVA), 22.41
  14. Will Davis (FLOR), 22.43

Caeleb Dressel has really come into his own over the last few days in Omaha, firing off some incredible swims in consecutive sessions, and he kept things rolling in the heats of the men’s 50 free.

Dressel flew down the pool in a time of 21.29, qualifying first by over four-tenths of a second as he takes over the #1 time in the world this year. The previous top time belonged to Vladimir Morozov, who went 21.41 at the Russian Olympic Trials in April.

The swim is also a new U.S. LC Nationals Record, breaking Garrett Weber-Gale‘s 2008 mark of 21.47, and ties Dressel’s fourth-fastest performance ever.

Michael Andrew (21.72) and Nathan Adrian (21.85) won the first two circle-seeded heats to advance second and third overall, while Bowe Becker cracked the 22-second barrier for the first time to qualify fourth in 21.94. Becker is the 20th American male to do so.

Ryan Held, the fastest American this season coming into the meet at 21.62, advanced seventh in 22.10, and #5 seed coming in David Curtiss (22.34) was 13th in what was his first swim of the meet.

27-year-old Payton Sorenson dropped a tenth from his best time in 22.08 for sixth, while Adam ChaneySid Farber and Justin Ress all lowered their PBs in a three-way tie for eighth.

From one of the early heats, Brooks Curry demolished his best time by over half a second in 22.22 to advance to the semis as well.

Dillon Downing (22.38) and Will Davis (22.43) also established lifetime bests to get in the semis.

Narrowly missing a second swim was 18-year-old Jack Alexy, the new NAG record holder in the 100 free, who placed 17th in 22.47 to move into a tie for 12th in the 17-18 age group.

Defending Olympic champion Tony Ervin ended up finishing 23rd in 22.61, while fellow veteran Matt Grevers tied for 46th in 22.98.

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3 months ago

should be Olympic Trials not US Nationals

Reply to  swimfan210_
3 months ago

Olympic trials is US Nationals

3 months ago

1. All the people saying Caleb looked slow during prelims of the 100 free are crying rn
2. Adrian has a legit chance at making e team

Reply to  Landen
3 months ago

It sucks because the guy had a serious shot in the 1 free too, but just had a weird swim in the semifinals. I mean he was 48.3 in prelims and 48.9 in semifinals, not sure how that happens, but oh well.

Reply to  Landen
3 months ago

He started taper a week ago

Swimming Guy
3 months ago
Irish Ringer
3 months ago

Was the easiest 21.29 I’ve ever seen. Almost seemed like a prelim of a 400m free. 🙂

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
3 months ago

21.0 incoming

Little Mermaid
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
3 months ago

Someone is breaking 21!

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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