Brazilian sprint star and world record-holder Cesar Cielo says he believes young American Caeleb Dressel has the ability to break Cielo’s super-suited world records in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Cielo said as much at the Jose Finkel Trophy, Brazil’s winter national championship meet, which is taking place this week in Sao Paolo. Globo.com reports that Cielo spoke highly of Dressel, saying he has “full capacity” to break Cielo’s records by 2020 in a rough translation of the original Portuguese.
Cielo’s two world records have been among the hardest to challenge on the men’s side since the banning of rubberized full-body racing suits in late 2009. At the 2009 World Championships in July, Cielo went 46.91 in the 100 free, and five months later, he put up a 20.91 in the 50 free at Brazil’s national championships just weeks before the bodysuit ban took effect. Both world records have stood the 8 years since, and have only been seriously challenged a couple of times.
At the 2017 World Championships, the upstart Dressel swept the 50 and 100 free titles, going 21.15 and 47.17, respectively, in just his second senior-level international swim meet. Dressel’s international debut on the senior stage was the Rio Olympics last summer. Just 20 years old and improving fast, Dressel was the breakout star on the men’s side this summer, winning 7 gold medals in Budapest.
Now, Cielo says Dressel could be the one to finally snap the Brazilian’s incredible world records. Here’s a rough translation of Cielo’s full quote from Globo.com:
“Look, Dressel has put himself in a position to surpass my two world records. You have to overcome the fine tuning, the hard part, those details. I think he has the full capacity to do that. Who knows, by 2020 he may have a new world record in the two races.”
For his part, the 30-year-old Cielo finished 8th in the 50 free at the World Championships in Budapest. He said he’s hoping to return to his best times since the bodysuit era – roughly in the 21.3-range. Cielo went 21.32 in 2013 and 21.39 in 2014, but has been off that mark in the few years since. He told Globo.com that he’s hoping to stay in contention for a medal, and is encouraged that his textile-best would still put him in medal contention based on Budapest results.
You can read Cielo’s full comments in their original Portuguese here.