Caeleb Dressel Sets New American Record at 46.96 in Men’s 100 Freestyle


Swimming in the finals of the men’s 100 freestyle Thursday evening in Gwangju, Caeleb Dressel nearly took down Cesar Cielo‘s legendary 100 freestyle World Record, touching in 46.96, just .05 over the World Record of 46.91 from the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

Though the swim today is not an overall World Record, Dressel’s time is a new textile World Record, improving upon Australian Cameron McEvoy‘s 2016 time of 47.04.

Perhaps the most famous aspect of Dressel’s race is his start, and as expected, Dressel was off the blocks fast, emerging just shy of the 15-meter mark already in the lead. Dressel is known for going out fast, but has also been working on his back-end speed, the part of the race he where he knew Australian Kyle Chalmers would make his move.

Dressel managed a 24.67 over the second 50 of the race to touch in 46.96. Chalmers, the defending Olympic Champion who posted a huge best time of 47.08, split 22.79 and 24.29. Russia’s Vladislav Grinev took the bronze medal in 47.82, and America Blake Pieroni finished just off the podium in 47.88, his second swim ever under 48.

Dressel Split Comparison:

1st 50 22.29 22.31 22.29 22.17
2nd 50 24.97 24.86 24.67 24.74
TOTAL TIME 47.26 47.17 – Former AR 46.96* New American Record 46.91 – World Record

Dressel and Chalmers ascend higher up the all-time performer’s list. Dressel is now the 3rd-fastest performer all-time and owns the 3rd-fastest performance all-time. Chalmers is now the 6th-fastest performer all-time, and one of four Australian men among the top 10 performers all-time:

  1. Cesar Cielo (Brazil), 2009, 46.91
  2. Alain Bernard (France), 2009, 46.94
  3. Caeleb Dressel (United States), 2019, 46.96
  4. Cameron McEvoy (Australia), 2016, 47.04
  5. Eamon Sullivan (Australia), 2008, 47.05
  6. Kyle Chalmers (Australia), 2019, 47.08
  7. James Magnussen (Australia), 2012, 47.10
  8. Fred Bousquet (France), 2009, 47.15
  9. Brent Hayden (Canada), 2009, 47.27
  10. David Walters (United States), 2009, 47.33

Though Dressel started the competition with a relatively pedestrian 47.63 to lead off the Americans’ 400 freestyle relay Sunday, he gained momentum as the competition went on.

Dressel posted top times through the prelims and semifinals of the men’s 50 fly, and then won gold in the final in 22.35, a new American Record and only .08 short of the World Record. Yesterday, though the United States was out-touched by .02 in the finals of the 4 x 100 mixed medley relay, Dressel put up a huge 49.33 butterfly split to lay waste to Michael Phelps‘ former fastest-ever relay split.

Cesar Cielo still holds the World Record in the men’s 50 freestyle at 20.91, set in December of 2009 just weeks before the suits were banned, though that time is now also in jeopardy of being knocked down a notch on the all-time-performances list by Dressel.

Like Cielo, Phelps set two of his three longest-lived World Records at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Yesterday, Phelps’ 200 butterfly World Record bit the dust at the hands of Hungary’s Kristof Milak in 1:50.73. For now, Phelps’ only remaining individual World Records include the 400 IM, set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (utilizing a Speedo LZR Racer leg skin–not full-body/over-shoulder), which stands at 4:03.84, and the 100 fly from the 2009 World Championships, a now very vulnerable 49.82.

Between Dressel’s 22.35 in the 50, his 49.33 split in the relay, and Milak’s 1:50.73 in the 200, it doesn’t seem likely that Phelps’ 100 butterfly World Record of 49.82 will survive the week.

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Just here for the comments about Ol’ Longhorn….

Ol' Longhorn

I like my heroes with WRs. Thank you, I’ll see myself out.

NC Swim Fan

Just like I said, moving the goalposts again. So embarrassing.


sad bitter ol longhorn


oh yes – he is not triumphant today


I’m genuinely curious…are you just trolling now, or do you really not think Dressel’s performances are noteworthy? He’s now been within hundredths of 3 world records (100m free, 100m fly, 50m fly) in addition to rewriting the record books in SCY across many events. If you just don’t like him, why bother posting?


I take his reference to Trump’s insult of McCain as clear evidence that he’s trolling. lol


Old longhorn you should throw in the towel on these swimming predictions man, you couldn’t predict a hot day in a heat wave.


He predicted Weitzel had no chance of breaking 53 on her relay split.


I like my WRs without supersuits.

Mr Piano

“Fantasies, ridiculous predictions. Lol, Dressel will only drop a few tenths from his 47.9” – Ol’ Longhorn

Ol' Longhorn

Yeah, glad to see he’s now #3 all-time. Wake me up when he has a #!, like Milak or Peaty.


Just wait for the 100 fly bud. Ask and you shall receive.

Michael Mooney

I think he should dump the 50. To much wasted ENERGY for the 100 Fly. Both on same day. Not good.

NC Swim Fan

Please just go away


u will be awaken …dont worry

Justin Thompson

Come on man, I realize you put yourself out there but take it in stride. You are hating on the number 2 all time.


Why do you engage in him? You know he’s simply trying to rile you up, and you’re letting him. He doesn’t actually believe all of the stuff he says (no one is that stupid) – he’s just trying to get exactly what you’re giving him – more fake internet rep. The guy’s a charity-case gimmick, let it go.

Honestly, the people bringing him up are more childish than he is.


To be fair to him I did see people predicting 46.5s and faster.

That he would turn in 21.8 feet on the wall.

And things of that nature.

Obviously he was a bit too smug after the 47.6, but his complaints about the ridiculousness of some of the predictions aren’t wrong.


They were talking about at the Olympics next year…


His claims that people were predicting 45.8 and stuff like that were just straw man arguments.

He’s just a hater


No they aren’t. I saw people making ridiculous dressel predictions also.


Dressel will get that record in a relay lead off later on or on 2020


Bold predictions…


How is that a “Bold prediction”? He just missed the record!


sarcasm detector off haha


Bold move, Cotton, let’s see how that plays out for him.


Individual WR can’t be set in mixed relays

Old Man Chalmers

FINA doesn’t ratify mixed relay leadoffs, even if the first leg is swum entirely by men.


And FINA has demonstrated how Credible an organization they are!


FINA’s got it right in this instance. You’d have women breaking WRs leading off those relays much more frequently, like Libby Lenton in one of the very first iterations of the mixed 4×1 at a USA v AUS Duel in the Pool when she was leading off against Michael Phelps

Jabroni Pepperoni

Why’s that? Wouldn’t they get rocked by the men’s wake? I would think it’s an u fair advantage for the men since they could have cleaner water.


there are multiple factors at play, some providing an advantage, some a disadvantage, for both men and women. The end result would count a lot of factors, but it’s easier to just say “these don’t count”, since the conditions are definitely different than a traditional race.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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