Caeleb Dressel Opens Olympic Trials With 200 Free Best Time – 1:46.63

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

The highly anticipated 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials debut for Caeleb Dressel is in the books, and it was largely a successful one.

Competing in the preliminary round of the men’s 200 freestyle, Dressel stormed his way to the Heat 7 victory in a time of 1:46.63, marking his first time under the 1:47 threshold.

Dressel went out fast, flipping in 24.29 at the 50, and then held the rest of the heat’s field, which included top seed Andrew Seliskar, at bay as he split 27.0/27.7/27.5 coming home to touch first by four-tenths of a second.

Dressel’s previous best was 1:47.31, set at the Pro Swim Series in Richmond back in April 2019. Overall, the University of Florida alum has been in the 1:47s six different times in his career, so getting under that mark is certainly a positive sign moving into the rest of the meet.

Kieran Smith, a current member of the NCAA’s Florida Gators, paced the prelims from Heat 5 in 1:46.54, with Dressel qualifying second overall. Patrick Callan (1:46.96) was the only other swimmer in the field to break 1:47.

The question for Dressel, who now ranks 20th all-time among Americans in the event, is whether or not he’ll race the semi-finals.

Many expected him to blast the prelims and scratch the semis, aiming to put up a time good enough to slot him onto the 800 free relay final at the Olympic Games. Was 1:46.6 enough? Probably not, at least on it’s own. But if he’s performing lights out in Tokyo, the coaches may opt to put him on the relay anyway.

Five of the 15 other semi-final qualifiers have been faster than Dressel’s prelim swim since the beginning of 2019: Seliskar, Townley Haas, Smith, Luca Urlando and Blake Pieroni.

U.S. Rankings, Men’s 200 Free (LCM) – January 1, 2019 – Present

  1. Andrew Seliskar, 1:45.71 – 2019 World Championships
  2. Townley Haas, 1:45.92 – 2019 U.S. Open
  3. Kieran Smith, 1:46.21 – 2019 Summer Nationals
  4. Dean Farris, 1:46.45 – 2019 Summer Nationals*
  5. Luca Urlando, 1:46.51 – 2019 Summer Nationals
  6. Blake Pieroni, 1:46.62 – 2019 FINA World Cup
  7. Caeleb Dressel, 1:46.63 – 2021 Olympic Trials
  8. Zach Apple, 1:46.76 – 2019 U.S. Open
  9. Maxime Rooney, 1:46.78 – 2019 Summer Nationals**
  10. Patrick Callan, 1:46.96 – 2021 Olympic Trials
  • *Farris scratched the event, opting to pursue the 100 back.
  • **Rooney failed to advance to the semi-finals, finishing 19th in the prelims.

If Dressel did swim tonight’s semi-final, he would still have a full day and a half before his first primary event, the 100 free, gets underway on Wednesday morning. He’s also entered in the 200 fly, beginning on Tuesday, but it would frankly be a shock if he stepped up on the blocks for it.

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Definitely Not Sun Yang
1 year ago

GOOD BETTER BEST

Vittorio Marchetti
1 year ago

He scratched the sf. What a pity, thinks he has a lot left in the tank

MX4x50relay
Reply to  Vittorio Marchetti
1 year ago

Maybe the coaches will put him on the relay after seeing such a casual 1:46

Vittorio Marchetti
Reply to  MX4x50relay
1 year ago

Probably ur right, but I still don’t get this move, if he swim at least sf, he will have a full day recover
Or we have to expect him oh the deck for 200 fly tomorrow? That would be a shock

PVSFree
Reply to  Vittorio Marchetti
1 year ago

Dressel’s looking to prove he can swim fly on the 800 free relay and still beat GB

Caeleb’s left suit string
Reply to  Vittorio Marchetti
1 year ago

I think it’s probably a smart move. An ez 1:46 still sends a message, and gives him a possible relay spot, whether it’s morning or night, and with such a stacked trials, I don’t think he’s taking any chances

Swim nerd
1 year ago

1:45.7 in Semis tonight to prove he belongs in that relay come Tokyo when he’s fully tapered. He then will scratch the final to focus on his other events

THEO
1 year ago

it looked soooooooo easy. I think an individual spot is the goal. The event timing is pretty favorable to see this one through and I think he is *correctly* deducing that he has a great shot at individual qualification

Curious swimmer
Reply to  THEO
1 year ago

As he scratches the event

THEO
Reply to  Curious swimmer
1 year ago

yes, my comment most certainly did not age well lol

Horninco
1 year ago

Didn’t look like he even worked that hard. 1:45 tonight?

Svird
Reply to  Horninco
1 year ago

I’d say he has a 1:45 mid to high in him if he attacks the middle 100 more. But don’t think he has the mid-D stroke required for any faster than that (would love to be proven wrong!)

M L
Reply to  Svird
1 year ago

I wonder about his 200 stroke too but think he might be able to go 1:45 low/44 high on speed and conditioning alone. Would love to see even faster, of course.

Sun Yang Hammer
1 year ago

Only Troy trains a 18.9 age grouper into a 200 Free Olympic contender

JCO
Reply to  Sun Yang Hammer
1 year ago

To be fair how many coaches have had the opportunity to coach an 18.9 age grouper?

Sun Yangs Hammer
Reply to  JCO
1 year ago

One? But purely speculating I don’t see many coaches training that swimmer into such events. Maybe Eddie?

PVSFree
Reply to  JCO
1 year ago

The only swimmers under 19 as high schoolers off the top of my head are Dressel, Andrew, and Hoffer right? So three technically?

Patty
Reply to  Sun Yang Hammer
1 year ago

Not trying to take away anything from Troy but caeleb was a 1:48 2 free when he was 16

BillyBob
Reply to  Patty
1 year ago

I’d say that’s pretty important context.

PACFAN
1 year ago

1:44.7 inbound

Joel
Reply to  PACFAN
1 year ago

Everyone keeps saying this. Doubt it

Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

The 200 free just seems too awkward for Dressel. Chalmers > Dressel

Last edited 1 year ago by Notanyswimmer
Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

yeah!!

Joe Bailey
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

Ya Dressel is a very one dimensional swimmer…

Dudeman
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

If dressel can go 1:45, his 200 free will be on a similar level as chalmers while having way more raw speed, that makes him very difficult to beat in the 100

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 year ago

The 100 fly just seems too awkward for Chalmers. Dressel > Chalmers

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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