Caeleb Dressel Scratches 200 Free Semi-Finals At Olympic Trials

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Shortly after setting a best time in the preliminary heats of the men’s 200 freestyleCaeleb Dressel has scratched out of the event’s semi-finals on Day 2 of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Dressel posted a time of 1:46.63 in the heats, chopping almost seven-tenths off his previous best time (1:47.31) to qualify second overall.

Now, the 24-year-old drops the event, as does 11th-ranked Ryan Held, which leaves his status for the 800 free relay at the Olympics up in the air.

Many expected Dressel to scratch the 200 free after the prelims, provided he put up a time fast enough to earn him a relay spot in Tokyo. His 1:46.63 showing puts him in the mix, but is far from a sure thing. Anything sub-1:46 would’ve probably assured him a spot if he wanted it.

However, there’s still a very good chance he ends up on the relay at the Games, especially if the U.S. doesn’t have four men they’re confident can be sub-1:46 and Dressel is firing on all cylinders in his other events.

There are five men who advanced to tonight’s semi-finals that have been faster than Dressel’s prelim swim dating back to the beginning of 2019, so we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.

Leading the field is Kieran Smith, a current member of Dressel’s former collegiate team, the University of Florida Gators, who produced a time of 1:46.54 in the prelims. Smith was one of three swimmers to punch a ticket to the Olympics on Sunday night, winning the men’s 400 free.

For now, though, Dressel is entered to swim the 200 fly prelims on Tuesday morning, but he’s expected to scratch out there. His first swim in one of his three primary events (50/100 free, 100 fly) will come on Wednesday morning in the 100 free prelims.

With Held also scratching after clocking 1:47.57 for 11th this morning, Grant House (1:48.18) and Julian Hill (1:48.56) will slot into the semi-finals tonight, having initially placed 17th and 18th overall, respectively. Maxime Rooney, who owns a best of 1:46.78, is now the first alternate.

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Dan
1 year ago

I’m starting to wonder if Dressel is the real thing. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

Old Retired Guy
1 year ago

Interesting tactical developments. Makes perfect sense, looking at it from Dressel’s and Coach Troy’s perspectives.

Nick B
1 year ago

Yeah, anytime I finish 2nd overall at Olympic trials I immediately drop the event, too.

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

It’s the marriage. His legs are shot.

Cate
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

It’s all about the relay. That’s it.

Dan
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

You’ve seen Rocky? “Women weaken legs”

Jack
1 year ago

He’s just helping out a teammate. Just 8 or 9 more scratches and Lochte’s back in the game!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jack
Old Retired Guy
Reply to  Jack
1 year ago

Oh, thou dost troll…

Dee
1 year ago

Guys, stop talking about 1.43s. Definitely capable of a 1.45 in Rio, perhaps a 1.44 high, but he isn’t dropping another 3s.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dee
MTK
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

I think flat start 1:44.5-1:44.9 is a reasonable prediction for what he can do. I agree about no 1:43 though. He probably has the talent to do it if 200free was a focus event of his, but it clearly isn’t.

Joe
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

He should swim the 400 free and go 3:39

Right Dude Here
Reply to  Dee
1 year ago

I don’t think he’s gonna swim it in Rio. Probably gonna focus on the shorter events.

Tim
Reply to  Right Dude Here
1 year ago

What’s going on in Rio?

DCSwim
1 year ago

comment image

DCSwim
Reply to  DCSwim
1 year ago

You know, I didn’t mean to post this image, but I guess it also works

MTK
1 year ago

We have to keep in mind that at the Olympics, 200free semis will be in the same session as the 4x100free relay finals. I think that might be the biggest factor in this whole thing. No way Dressel wants to put that 4×100 at risk – we’ve seen him do doubles and triples before in sessions, but those were always 50s and 100s.

Jack
Reply to  MTK
1 year ago

I don’t think anyone expected him to try for the individual event. People are wondering why he didn’t swim semis here to put up a more convincing time to get him on the relay.

MTK
Reply to  Jack
1 year ago

I guess he must be satisfied with the 1:46. If that swim was as comfortable as it sounds like it was (I didn’t get to watch it), then he probably could’ve powered home the last 50 and been 1:45.high, but I guess he’s satisfied with the time he’s put up.

Last edited 1 year ago by MTK
A C
Reply to  MTK
1 year ago

I think that he swam as fast as he could. On the other hand, he didn’t look tired at all afterwards.

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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