Caeleb Dressel Clocks Sub-22 50 Free, Simone Manuel Breaks 25 Seconds as Comebacks Continue


Perhaps the most encouraging moment of Caeleb Dressel‘s year-long comeback came on Thursday night at the U.S. Open, where he dipped under 22 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle for the first time since April of 2022.

The seven-time Olympic gold medalist won the B-final with a time of 21.99, his fastest time since clocking a 21.29 at the 2022 U.S. International Team Trials. Dressel, 27, has been working back into shape at his University of Florida training base since dropping out of the 2022 World Championships and spending extended time away from the water.

Dressel went 22.35 in prelims this morning after going 22.57 in May. He would have tied for 4th in the A-final tonight with Santo Condorelli, who posted his fastest time since the Rio 2016 Olympics, behind Mikel Schreuders (21.93), Josh Liendo (21.90), and Michael Andrew (21.80).

Dressel has been as fast as 21.04 on two occasions, first at the 2019 World Championships and then at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials. It took a time of 21.58 to medal at the 2023 World Championships, where Aussie veteran Cameron McEvoy topped the podium with a winning mark of 21.06.

Dressel wasn’t the only Olympic gold medalist who took a step forward on the comeback trail during the second night of the U.S. Open.

Simone Manuel placed 7th in the women’s 50 free with a 24.82, her first time under 25 seconds since the Tokyo Olympics more two years ago (24.63 in semifinals). Manuel, 26, owns a lifetime best of 23.97 from the 2017 World Championships, but she has also been building back slowly since revealing her diagnosis with overtraining syndrome in June of 2021. She now trains at Arizona State with head coach Bob Bowman.

Manuel opted to skip the U.S. National Championships this year while Dressel competed in the 50 free prelims (22.72) but scratched out of the C-final after tying for 22nd.



  • World Record: 23.61– Sarah Sjostrom (2023)
  • American Record: 23.97– Simone Manuel (2017)
  • U.S. Open Record: 24.00 — Abbey Weitzeil (2023)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 24.43 –Simone Manuel (2019)

Top 8:

  1. Kate Douglass — 24.38
  2. Torri Huske/Abbey Weitzeil — 24.41
  3. Gretchen Walsh — 24.42
  4. Siobhan Haughey — 24.62
  5. Melanie Henique — 24.76
  6. Simone Manuel — 24.82
  7. Claire Curzan — 24.92


  • World Record: 20.91– Cesar Cielo Filho (2009)
  • American Record: 21.04 – Caeleb Dressel (2019)
  • U.S. Open Record: 21.04 — Caeleb Dressel (2021)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 21.59 –  Caeleb Dressel (2019)

Top 8:

  1. Michael Andrew — 21.80
  2. Josh Liendo — 21.90
  3. Mikel Schreuders — 21.93
  4. Santo Condorelli — 21.99
  5. Quintin McCarty — 22.01
  6. Merion Cheruti — 22.14
  7. Brooks Curry — 22.16
  8. Ryan Held — 22.24

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Moving Mark
2 months ago

Dressel is really falling off. His meet record is 21.59 Its going to be rough for him when he misses the Olympic team

3 months ago

It’s good to see him and Santo Condorelli back under 22 after some time away from the sport.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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