American swimmer Caeleb Dressel, who announced his first professional suit deal on Thursday morning, has given his fans one more thing to chatter about. With the release of the psych sheets for the 2018 U.S. National Championships on Thursday afternoon, we now know that there’s at least a chance that Dressel will swim a breaststroke or IM race at Nationals.
Dressel is entered in 8 events at the meet. That includes his primary races, the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly, in which he is the defending World Champion. It also includes the 50 fly, which he swam at Worlds last year but finished 4th, the 200 free, the 50 breaststroke, the 100 breaststroke, and the 200 IM.
Those latter three events carry the most intrigue, as we’ve never seen Dressel swim them in a championship meet in long course. He dazzled us in the spring at the SEC Championships when he swam a 50.03 in the 100 yard breaststroke, which at the time was the fastest ever (Ian Finnerty would break that time at NCAAs), and a 1:38.13 in the 200 yard IM, which is still the best time ever.
His long course bests in those events are:
- 50 breast – 27.89
- 100 breast – 1:02.26
- 200 IM – 2:01.19
He’s actually the last-seeded LCM swimmer in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, because his best time in the qualifying period is 1:03.28, which is a mere .01 seconds faster than the qualifying standard.
Remember that, while swimmers can expand their lineup to ‘whatever they want’ for Pan Pacs, with coaches’ permission, only the winner of the 50 stroke races at nationals get a free pass to the World Championships (because there are no stroke 50s at Pan Pacs). The 2nd spot in those events usually goes to the fastest qualifier in the equivalent 100 for first-refusal.
Potential Dressel Schedule, with Pre-Scratch Prelims Timeline:
Day 1, Wednesday, July 25th:
- 100 free (10:08AM) – #1 seed, 47.17
Day 2, Thursday, July 26th:
- 200 free (9:35AM) – #8 seed, 1:47.45
- 50 fly (12:15PM) – #1 seed, 49.86 (based on 100 time)
Day 3, Friday, July 27th:
- 100 fly (11:03AM) – #1 seed, 49.86
- 50 breast (11:28AM) – #49 seed, 1:03.28 (based on 100 time)
Day 4: Saturday, July 28th
- 100 breast (10:56AM) – #54 seed, 1:03.28
Day 5: Sunday, July 29th
- 200 IM (9:39AM) – #18 seed, 2:01.98
- 50 free (10:17AM) – #1 seed, 21.15
It’s interesting the way that the schedule works out. The two events where he has some pressure, via needing a top 4 finish, at Nationals to make relays at Pan Pacs, are the first two events on his schedule. If he makes the team in the 100 free, where he’s the top seed by almost 7-tenths of a second, that leaves him with free reign to ‘try’ whatever events he wants at Nationals (and his entries at SECs indicates he’s not afraid to try where the stakes are lower). Even if he doesn’t, he’s still got the fall-back of the 100 fly before the breaststroke or IM races begin.
The schedule is almost begging Dressel to try at least one of those ‘off-races.’
The 2018 US National Championships begin on July 25th.