Caeleb Dressel‘s 18.23 American record in the 50 yard freestyle puts him well above other top competitors, but it also puts him in contention of being one of the fastest 50 sprinters ever.
While Dressel’s speed in the 50 yard freestyle is unparalleled, most of the world competes in short course meters during the short course season, and long course meters year-round.
Growing up in the United States, Dressel has no record of ever swimming a short course meters 50 free, and his personal best time in the long course 50m freestyle is a 21.53 from the 2015 U.S Nationals in San Antonio. That time itself is very impressive, but it seems as though Dressel has shown some big improvement since the summer.
Using the Speedo Time Converter on SwimSwam, Dressel’s new American record in short course yards translates to a 20.23 in short course meters and a 21.03 in long course meters.
Based on his conversion times, Dressel would be the third fastest 50m freestyler of all time in the long course pool behind only suited swims from world record holder Cesar Cielo and Fred Bousquet.
The fastest textile time ever recorded in the long course pool was a 21.19 by Florent Manaudou at the 2015 World Championships. Dressel’s 21.03 conversion would make him the fastest-ever in a textile suit, and the fastest American of all time by a whopping 0.34 seconds.
In the short course meters pool, Dressel’s conversion time would make him the all-time fastest 50m freestyler ever, bettering Manaudou’s 20.26 world record that he set at the 2014 World Championships.
Based on these conversion times alone, if Dressel is able to convert his raw yards speed into meters, he will be one of the best 50m freestylers of all time. If he’s able to swim close to the conversion time at the 2016 Olympic Trials this summer, it will almost guarantee him a spot on the Olympic team and will throw him right in the hunt for gold in Rio.
But just how fast can he go?
The 50m freestyle is precisely 4.28 meters longer than the 50 yard freestyle. During Dressel’s 18.23 performance, he averaged a speed of 2.74 yards per second. Converted that’s 2.5 meters per second. If Dressel was put into a short course 50m freestyle and managed to hold onto that same average speed for the next 4.28 meters, he would touch in at 20-seconds flat.
That time would obliterate the world record by 0.26 seconds.
There’s no telling whether or not Dressel would be able to hold his speed for the extra distance in the short course meters race, or if he can translate his speed fully to the long course pool, but one thing is for sure: Dressel has speed, and he’s going to be dangerous this summer.