Dressel Blasts 20.43 Leading Off Mixed Relay, Fastest USA Time Ever


  • Tuesday, December 11th- Sunday, December 16th
  • Hangzhou, China
  • Tennis Centre, Hangzhou Olympic & International Expo Center
  • SCM (25m)
  • Prelims: 9:30 am local, 8:30 pm ET / Finals: 7:00 pm* local, 6:00* am ET
  • *The final night of finals will be one hour earlier, starting at 6:00 pm local and 5:00 am ET
  • Live Results (Omega)

Yesterday, American sprint star Caeleb Dressel unified the three American records in the men’s 100 free (yards, 25m, and 50m) by taking the SCM American Record with a 45.66 leadoff on the USA world record-setting 4×100 free relay.

Today, he led off the mixed medley relay in 20.43 to unofficially lay claim to all three American Records in the 50 free. While that time is 0.42s faster than Anthony Ervin‘s American record from the 2012 World Cup circuit, Dressel’s time will not officially count because it was done leading off a mixed relay.

Rules from both FINA and USA Swimming specify that leadoff legs from mixed gender relays are not eligible for world/American records. USA Swimming rule 104.2 C (1):

Lead-off legs/initial distances of mixed gender relays shall not count for American or U.S. Open records.

The presumed rationale for the rule is essentially that a man leading off in a field of women would encounter quite different water conditions than if he was swimming against seven other men. However, every single team had a man leading off, so while it may not officially count, Dressel’s swim was done in the same conditions he’d encounter in an individual 50 free, or leading off a men’s relay.

The good news for Dressel is that he won’t have to wait long to get another chance. With both the individual 50 free and the men’s 4×50 free relay coming later in the week, it would appear to be only a matter of time before Dressel replicates tonight’s performance and does officially unify all three USA men’s records in the 50 free.

A 20.43 in SCM converts to roughly a 18.3 or 18.4 in yards, suggesting that Dressel could be even faster as he gets more comfortable swimming in a 25m pool, after he lit up the swimming world (or least, domestic swim fans) with a 17.63 at the NCAA championships in March.

Per the USA Swimming Data Hub, only three men in history have been faster than Dressel’s 20.43 from tonight:

  1. Florent Manaudou – 20.26 – 2014
  2. Roland Schoeman – 20.30 – 2010
  3. Vladimir Morozov – 20.31 – 2017

Morozov has another three times where he’s been 20.4, and no one else has been under 20.5 more than once. While Morozov was “only” 20.75 leading off Russia’s relay tonight, he went 20.48 at the Singapore World Cup stop last month, and we should be in for a great battle between Morozov and Dressel later this week.

Prelims and semifinals of the 50 free will be tomorrow (Thursday), with finals coming Friday.

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Dressel WILL take down the Ruski


All the Caleb naysayers where are you? I’m glad he’s getting better as many of us hoped. Here’s hoping he sets the pool on fire tomorrow.

The Ready Room

It’s awfully quiet in here…


I mean hes still not as fast as expected. Look at the converted time, hes .7-.8 off what we would expect. He also is 4th all time behind people he is faster than in scy and lcm


All the commenters who can spell Caeleb right, where are you

Ol' Longhorn

Essentially the same time Vlad went in Singapore this year (20.48). Dressel hasn’t won an individual event yet, so you might want to hold your horses.


In his first scm 50….ever


I mean, in an official race, sure, but you know he’s been practicing approaches into the wall, figuring out stroke counts, etc for at least the past few weeks. This is a very small factor, imo.


I can see him getting close to the 20.0 barrier. At NCAAs he went something like 18.1/17.8/17.6 in his 3 swims. I think we’ll see that level of improvement throughout the meet, especially because he’ll adjust to scm each race.

Ol' Longhorn

Not going to happen. Much tighter field 1-8 for the 50 free final than the lead-off of this relay, including some big dudes. His clean water days over for this meet.

Michael Schwartz

Two things wrong here. Number 1, he was going against a field of 7 other men in this race as it was. Number two, as long as he is out in front and stays under the wash on the turn then there’s no reason his water wouldn’t be just as clean in the individual 50 Free than leading off this relay.


I’ve always wondered why people worry so much about this. If the next guy is almost 2 meters away laterally, he’s gonna have to be pretty far ahead of you for his wave to move over into your lane and interfere with you. If the race is mostly even, and the guys get under the wave properly off the turn like you said, this seems like an almost negligible concern.

Ol' Longhorn

The wave of a 6 foot 6 210 pound man is formidable. That’s why Lezak was ever to draft off Bernard. To say that there’s no wave effect just because the guy’s in a different lane is absurd. He’s not winning by a second like at NCAAs.


Sure, but Lezak was behind Bernard from the get-go, which is my whole point. If you are even with someone, it’s going to take time for their wave to move laterally, around the lane line, and to the position you were at when that wave started traveling. By that time, you’re past that point since you are also moving. If Dressel starts at the same time as everyone else and at least stays even with them, it’s clean water either way. There is no wave effect unless you’re behind.

Ol' Longhorn

See interview with Nathan Adrian at Rio. Worst lane in the pool is the middle lane in a sprint free final. 7 other men in this race, included one going 22+ and only one other going under 21. There will be 5 going under 21 in the 50 free final here.

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