Caeleb Dressel Swims Lifetime Best in 200 Free at Richmond PSS


American superstar swimmer Caeleb Dressel not only won the 200 free on Thursday evening at the Pro Swim Series stop in Richmond, Virginia; but he did so in a new lifetime best of 1:47.31. That’s a .14 second drop from his previous best time, which was a 1:47.45 done at the 2017 US National Championships; and is half-a-second faster than he swam at Pan Pacs last summer.

While Dressel’s bread-and-butter races are 100 meters-and-shorter, for him to be swimming lifetime bests in a 200 meter event in long course at this point of the season shows us something. Hard to say exactly what, given the sort of enigma that is Dressel, with his extreme versatility, and the superficial incongruity of a sprinter training in the traditionally-high-volume Gregg Troy system.

This summer, the US will be fighting to regain control of the 800 free relay that during the Michael Phelps era was almost-automatic. While the Americans (with Phelps) won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games, the relay without Phelps at the last two World Championships has been unable to win after having taken the previous 5 long course World titles. In 2017, they took bronze, which was their lowest finish from 2001 (the last relay before Phelps broke through and became a mainstay).

If Dressel is the man who is filling that Phelps role on Team USA, a 3-relay hammer, a medal-gobbler who is in contention for 5+ golds every year, then the Americans really need him to become that man on the 800 free relay as well. The Brits, who have won the last 2 World Championships in this event, are still a very young team – their oldest finals swimmer from the 2017 title-winning team Stephen Milne is still only 24. If Dressel can start touching 1:45s on relay starts, which seems well within reach when he’s going 1:47.3 in April in a high-volume training program; and if Jack Conger can get back to 1:45; and if Zane Grothe‘s speed continues to develop; that would make the Americans the favorites again.

This result is one small step in that direction, and one of the more exciting swims we’ve seen from Dressel since his collegiate career ended.

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remel can do anything

seliskar, haas, apple, pieroni will be the better choice than grothe.



Harvard fan

Umm you’re forgetting the legendary American record holder in the 200 free…


Phelps is not coming back the 200m free LC American record holder


He said legendary, meaning lord Farris. What has Phelps done that is legendary?…


Dean is swimming for iceland, although if he were swimming for the USA I am pretty sure the coaches would just make 3 clones of him and swim them on the relay.


How can this article not mention the best two LC 200 free swimmers in the USA? Haas and Seliskar. Haas split 1:43 last year at Pan Pacs.

bill till

Townley for sure, dude is a stud. Grothe is a distance swimmer, not middle distance.


The article is about Caeleb Dressel and his personal-best swim from last night. Were Haas and Seilskar also in his heat last night? There’s no need for outrage.

Retired coach

2 paragraphs about Caeleb, 2 paragraphs about the 800 relay. The relay makeup comment is absolutely on topic.


Braden is usually on point, so I’m just busting his chops. To be more clear, I could have said “The paragraph discussing the other legs of the USA 4×200 relay should have also mentioned Hass and Seli.”

Santocondorelli biggest fan

All we need are 1:46’s from the other 3 guys. Our lord and savior Dean Farris will carry the team with his 1:40 lead off.

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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