Caeleb Dressel Qualifies 1st in 50 & 200 Frees on Saturday in Mission Viejo


After a breakthrough brace of 47.9s on Friday, World Champion Caeleb Dressel had a pair of more measured preliminary swims on Saturday morning in Mission Viejo at the Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions. Swimming heats of both the 50 and 200 freestyles, Dressel qualified 1st in each – opening with a 1:48.87 in the 200 free, and finishing his session with a 22.31 in the 50 free about 50 minutes later.

For context on the 200 free: he went his lifetime best in Richmond in April in that event of 1:47.31. In prelims of that meet, he swam just 1:49.67 – 8-tenths slower than he was on Saturday morning.

In the 200, he’ll be chased by a loaded field that includes Italian Olympian, turned American competitor, Mitch D’Arrigo (1:49.37) and one of Germany’s top talents Jacob Heidtmann (1:49.44).

In the men’s 50 free, it will be a battle of 2 of the best starters in the world, with Dressel lined up next to South Africa’s Brad Tandy (22.33) in the final. Ali Khalafalla qualified 3rd in that 50 in 22.61.

Other Saturday Prelims Highlights:

  • China has the top 2 qualifiers in the 50 free with Zhang Yufei finishing the heats in 25.42 and Zhu Menghui finishing in 25.57. Allison Schmitt also qualified for the A final in that race with a 26.58.
  • Jacob Pebley was the 2nd qualifier in the men’s 200 back in 2:02.62, just .15 seconds behind Arizona State’s Zachary Poti. Remember that in Pebley’s last meet, he beat the defending Olympic Champion Ryan Murphy in this event.
  • The 2018 US National Champion in the 400 IM Ally McHugh qualified 1st through in that event to finals in 4:41.80 (pending results of the B flight). That made her the top qualifier by 9 seconds (and 3.4 seconds better than anybody else in the field’s seed time.

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1:46.88 & 21.78 tonight. You heard it here first.

Mr Piano

Not if I have anything to say about it, and I do!

Ol’ Longhorn

I see you’ve moved from Shields to Dressel.

Joel Lin

I’ll take the under on the 2 free. His 200s have been really good & he seems to be fully there in terms of endurance. Maybe the 21.7 speed isn’t quite there this weekend, but he could pop a 1:46 low or even a 1:45 high tonite.

Mr Piano

On a serious note, if Dressel goes 1:45 tonight, he is getting 8 gold medals in Tokyo. I say 1:46.9. He would definitely be 21.5 if he didn’t have the 200, but 21.7 does sound right. So I do agree with Tomato.

Ol’ Longhorn

Wait, was there a motorcycle accident between prelims and finals?

Mr Piano

Met him at Taco Bell before the meet. Said he wanted to loaf the 200 free to conserve energy for a 21.5 50 free, thus making Ol’ Longhorn pout and squirm.


Dressel eats at Taco Bell!? This justifies my dietary choices for the past few years!

Mr Piano

Yes, and then he gave me his credit card number and social security number.


Oh…. my bad lol.




Why would he go the same time in prelims/finals in the 100 free but the next day drop 2 secs in the 200 free and over .5 in the 50?

Joel Lin

Because it feels like an Arby’s night.


If I could upvote this more, I would


Because there is a difference between swimming 2 races a day of 100 each and swimming 4 races of 500 total.


SwimSwam — Can you please live stream them on Instagram again? Please.


Yes I will also videotape these races! 😉 Love, photographer Jack’s mom


Are they doing semi and finals for the 50 free?


Don’t think so


Actually there are semi finals

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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