Cesar Cielo Discusses David Popovici, Caeleb Dressel, and a 45-Second 100 Free

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We sat down with the world record-holder in the 50 free and now the FORMER world record-holder in the 100 free, Cesar Cielo, to get his perspective on sprinting in the world today. Cesar admits he wasn’t ecstatic about 17-year-old David Popovici breaking his 13-year-old 100 free world record, but he also wasn’t sad about it. He reveals what he see’s in Popovici’s technique, starts, and kick that can make him even more of a lethal threat on the international stage.

Cielo also gives a look into the mind of an athlete who is at the top of the world, perhaps lending perspective on what 5x 2020 Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel may be going through after pulling out of the world championships this summer. And finally, Cielo predicts if we will ever see a 45-second 100 free as well as when he thinks his 50 free world record will finally go down.

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Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Lucas
23 days ago

What’s up with Dressel? Nothing has been said after his withdrawal from Budapest. Hope he’s ok.

Lpman
26 days ago

Would have loved to see Cielo pressed on doping in the sport given his lack of punishment in 2011.

John26
26 days ago

Just spent a few minutes thinking about this, but we really underappreciate Magnussen in terms of the progress he brought to the 100free.

Even if you believe some combination of Bernard, Sullivan, and Cielo’s best 2008/2009 was equivalent to textile 47.6 or 47.7 (which is probably a stretch), Magnussen brought the textile record down to 47.1, which would be more than a 0.5s improvement on the textile equivalent record. If you consider the pre-Magnussen best textile best was 47.8, that’s a 0.7s improvement!

McEvoy, Dressel, and Popovici (so far)’s swims were just further chipping at the record, but Magnussen was the one who took the big leap.

Memma EcKeon
Reply to  John26
25 days ago

Cielo was 47.8 in the London 2012 final…so the 47.7 wasn’t a strecht
Also, Nystrand did a 47.9 in 2007…

But yes, we totally under appreciate Magnusse for sure. The guy was box office. I wished Nathan Adrian didn’t destroyed him mentally in 2012 Olympics. Otherwise he could still be swimming

Outside Smoke
Reply to  John26
25 days ago

Not to mention, the rest of the world was struggling to even break 48 seconds in the post super-suit era. Then BOOM out of nowhere Magnussen goes 47.49 in 2011.

R&R
28 days ago

Great interview. Love to hear his honest thoughts and deep knowledge that comes from direct experience. The fear in the waiting room… the difficulties of winning, of staying at the top. The fact that he isn’t all happy for his record being broken – really appreciate that honesty :D. Smart guy, I hope to see him more often in interviews.

Sqimgod
28 days ago

Dressel could set personal bests well into his 30s. Physically he’s not even reached his peak but… He is mentally weak. He needs to face his fears. Only then will his anxiety and panic attacks stop.

TNM
Reply to  Sqimgod
26 days ago

No, I believe he is strong mentally. All those medals he racked up from 2017-2021 and edging out on many races demonstrates his mental fortitude. But everyone has a breaking point, especially with social media magnifying that public pressure. MP went through a slump and multiple periods of difficulty. Dressel will bounce back. I wouldn’t call him “mentally weak.”

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Sqimgod
26 days ago

What world are you living in?

Tony
28 days ago

I’m not saying that Poptart isn’t a great 100 & 200 free swimmer, but I firmly believe that his WR time in Rome was made possible by the absence of two big dudes generating waves in the pool — Dressel in the first 50, Chalmers in the second 50 (and, of course, the lack of any real pressure).

Joe
Reply to  Tony
28 days ago

How is that his fault?

Troyy
Reply to  Tony
27 days ago

Dressel had clear water because of his start and underwaters and still couldn’t break the record. Unfortunately his speed on top of the water is simply not good enough.

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Tony
26 days ago

Don’t take anything away from this kid’s accomplishments. Not a good take.

Luigi
Reply to  Tony
25 days ago

Miressi is a giant and he was right next to him. He had Milak on the other side, not a big dude but not a midget either. As for pressure, who do you think has more pressure to deal with, the young challenger or the two older Olympic champions?

Caelebs left suit string
29 days ago

Could we start being fair with Caeleb please? My gosh some of the comments after this year’s worlds and after Popovici’s insane run were borderline disgusting. He was swimming’s golden boy for almost 5 years and all of a sudden people were screaming he should retire after not even 1 season.

Even at in-season pro series meets this year people thought he was done and should hang it up because Casas was beating him, despite everyone knowing for years he’s a taper swimmer.

Caeleb is still by far the best male swimmer on the planet, his 50 free is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the world. He’s been 21.0 on 3 occasions now, not to… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Caelebs left suit string
stop gap fc
Reply to  Caelebs left suit string
26 days ago

yup the likes of Go Kaminga Go, Jamesabc and Troyy are dressel haters that have been looking on any opportunity to pounce on him

Jamesabc
Reply to  stop gap fc
25 days ago

LOL when have I ever attacked Dressel?

Beginner Swimmer at 25
Reply to  stop gap fc
25 days ago

Don’t forget the biggest Aussie grifter of all Sub13

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Caelebs left suit string
26 days ago

People expect success — the endless time drops, world records and gold medals — to go on forever. That’s not realistic. Caeleb Dressel has had a superlative career, whether he never repeats his past accomplishments ever again or not. He was on top, the absolute pinnacle, for 5 years. That’s an amazing run that not too many swimmers will duplicate. Then young, hungry, up and comers step on to the scene. That’s the nature of sport. No one is on top forever, and it doesn’t diminish their accomplishments.

Jamesabc
Reply to  Caelebs left suit string
25 days ago

The comments about Dressel aren’t anything new. Swimmers regularly get dragged even worse than him on here. You’re only just noticing now because it’s happening to someone you like.

swimapologist
Reply to  Jamesabc
25 days ago

You are really on one today aren’t you?

I mean, you’re always mad about something (usually some perception that your dear Aussies have been mortally offended). but today you’re ON one.

Robbos
Reply to  swimapologist
25 days ago

It’s true though.

Goated Mcintosh
29 days ago

I agree with Cielo. If Dressel wants to get the 50 free WR, he needs to focus only on the 50s for one season at least.

At Worlds, having a 100 fly-50 free double in the prelims and semis affects his final performance. And as he said with fresh legs he has a 20.7 or 20.8 in him.

The new olympic schedule is better, because the 50 free is before the 100 fly in 2024. So i hope Dressel focuses on the 50 fly and 50 free at Worlds in Fukuoka.

By 2024, chlorine daddy will potentially be in the 46.3-46.4 territory in the 100 free, so it won’t make any sense for him to swim it as the defending… Read more »

Last edited 29 days ago by Goated Mcintosh
Mr Piano
Reply to  Goated Mcintosh
29 days ago

Why wouldn’t it make sense for Dressel to swim an event at the Olympics where he’s the American record holder in, and #2 textile all time?

Argentina on top 🇦🇷
Reply to  Mr Piano
29 days ago

Dressel doesn’t swim events, where he’s not the favorite. Champions like him don’t compete for silver and bronze.

He can get a flat start time from the relay on the first day to see where he’s at and then rest for his best 2 events: 50 free and 100 fly.

Moreover, he achieved everything you can dream of in the 100 free: Olympic champ, 2*World Champ LC, SC World Champ, NCAA dominance and if it wasn’t for the rubberized suits he would have been the first man under 47 and the WR holder in Gwangju.

And being 28 years old in Paris makes things more harder, when it comes to swimming close to your PBs and he’s competing against guys… Read more »

Blackflag82
Reply to  Argentina on top 🇦🇷
28 days ago

“Moreover, he achieved everything you can dream of in the 100 free”

idk…pulling the 100 free gold double would put you in some pretty good company…I imagine most guys who win one 100 free gold dream of a second to join that short list of legends

Mr Piano
Reply to  Blackflag82
28 days ago

I mean “just” getting silver or bronze would also be very impressive. Times are getting wicked fast right now. Who knows where Jacob Whittle and Hwang will be by 2024, you know? The more competition there is in an Olympic race, the more the value the medals and especially the gold medal have.

Sub13
Reply to  Argentina on top 🇦🇷
28 days ago

Not sure I’m convinced by this. Without rubber suits, Marchand is the WR holder and Phelps has no WRs. I don’t think that’ll discourage him

Jimmy
Reply to  Sub13
28 days ago

Waiting for the mandatory comment : “but Phelps’ rubber suit was only xx% polyurethane, and did not help him much”.

How dare you put Phelps and no WRs in one sentence?

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Jimmy
28 days ago

don’t forget “if phelps just focused on the 400 im he would’ve broken 4 minutes”

Robbos
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
25 days ago

Or if he focussed on the 400 free, he would’ve broken the WR.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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