Dressel Drops 50 Free American Record Again In 20.51


  • 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)

22-year-old Caeleb Dressel lowered the American Record once again in the semi-finals of the men’s 50 freestyle, touching in a time of 20.51 to improve on his 20.62 from the preliminaries.

On day 1 of the meet, Dressel was actually faster in 20.43, but since that was done on the lead-off of a mixed relay, it doesn’t officially count as a record.

Prior to Dressel’s swims, the record stood at 20.85 from Anthony Ervin in 2012, while Nathan Adrian was the fastest American ever in 20.71 from the 2009 Duel in the Pool when USA Swimming had stopped recognizing American Records.

Leaving that 20.43 swim out, he moves up from 8th into a tie for 6th all-time in the event, tying the great Brazilian Cesar Cielo‘s 20.51 from the 2010 Championships.


*not including Dressel’s mixed relay lead-off

  1. Florent Manaudou (FRA), 20.26
  2. Roland Schoeman (RSA), 20.30
  3. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 20.31
  4. Amaury Leveaux (FRA), 20.48
  5. Cesar Cielo (BRA) / Caeleb Dressel (USA), 20.51
  6. Fred Bousquet (FRA), 20.52
  7. Evgeny Sedov (RUS), 20.59
  8. Alain Bernard (FRA), 20.63
  9. Ben Proud (GBR), 20.66

Dressel leads the field into the final by two-tenths of a second, with Ben Proud of Great Britain sitting 2nd in 20.71, and Vladimir Morozov (20.83) and Cameron McEvoy (20.97) also cracked 21. Michael Andrew, the other American entrant, missed the final in 10th (21.18), and there will be a swim-off for 8th between Pawel Juraszek of Poland and defending champion Jesse Puts of the Netherlands after they both went 21.12. In 2016, Puts won the gold medal in 21.10.

Dressel will have a few more chances at that 20.26 world record held by Florent Manaudou in the individual final along with the men’s 4×50 free relay.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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