Dressel: Stars like Adrian”Left Behind Some Really Big Shoes to Fill”


50 free champions Simone Manuel and Caeleb Dressel spoke with the press after the conclusion of last night’s session. Dressel earned his 3rd win of the week, while Manuel made the Olympic team with her last chance after missing the semis of the 100 free earlier in the meet. Manuel described her emotions as the race ended:

Yeah, when I touched the wall, I literally was like, please God please! Then I turned around, I turned to my right, and I just saw Abbey shooting over the lane line, so I was like, okay I at least got first or second, so I’m on the team. 

Then to turn around and see the first place was amazing. I had to sit back and say, thank you God. Because, like I said, I wouldn’t have made it here without the be strength that he’s given me to continue on this path.

It was a tough week for veterans this week, as stars Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin, Matt Grevers, and Ryan Lochte missed making the team. Dressel described how different the team would be without that group this go-around.

I’ve leaned on those guys — I think the first time I got my hand on the wall before Nathan was in ’17, but that doesn’t mean I stopped leaning on him, it doesn’t mean I stopped looking up to him. Every meet since my first meet with Nathan, especially, I leaned on the guy. 

To be honest I’m not ready for a team without Nathan. I told him that. What he brings to the team, all those guys, big guys, literally all of them are pretty big guys. What they bring, their impact, what they present to the team is huge. 

They left behind some really big shoes to fill. I’m not ready for them, and I have to be. It doesn’t just fall on my shoulders. I think everyone who is on the team, we’re going to have to pick up the pace, because what they left behind is huge from all of them. 

Dressel was asked about it what to meant to him to see the Florida Gator men sweep the freestyle events this week, after current Gators Kieran Smith and Bobby Finke won the 200/400 and 800/1500, respectively.

Whoa! I forgot! Someone talked about that. I didn’t even think about that. I guess I haven’t had time to think about it. I’ll text Bobby and Kieran and let them know I think the boys did all right there. Funny, we’ve got a good group going. I’m sure you guys have talked to them. They’re class-act guys. I am excited to be on the team with them, I look up to both those guys, I’ve said it before. 

And Bobby was even talking “heat” in warm-up. He was saying he wanted to race me. I was warming up for the session and Bobby said he wanted to race me a 25. I didn’t want to embarrass him, so I kind of let that one go.  But both those guys are awesome. Looking forward to being USA teammates with them. 


Originally reported by James Sutherland


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 20.91 (2009)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 21.04 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 21.14 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Michael Andrew (USA) – 21.75 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Anthony Ervin (USA) – 21.40
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Nathan Adrian – 21.51
  • Wave I Cut: 23.19
  • Wave II Cut: 22.71
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 22.01
  1. Caeleb Dressel (GSC), 21.04 =AR
  2. Michael Andrew (RPC), 21.48
  3. Nathan Adrian (CAL), 21.73

Caeleb Dressel used his game-changing start to launch himself into clear water right off the hop in the men’s 50 freestyle final, soaring to victory in a time of 21.04 to tie his American Record set at the 2019 World Championships.

Dressel’s swim also lowers the U.S. Open Record of 21.14, set by Cesar Cielo in 2009, and ties for both the fourth-fastest swim ever and the fastest textile swim of all-time.

The 22-year-old Dressel solidifies his entry into three individual events in Tokyo, as did the race’s runner-up, Michael Andrew.

Andrew, who won the 100 breast and 200 IM earlier in the meet, closed like a freight train to separate himself from the rest of the field and touch second in 21.48, just two one-hundredths off his personal best set at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships.

While Dressel chops a quarter of a second off his world-leading time from the prelims (21.29), Andrew moves up to #4 in the world.

Andrew is also the first U.S. Olympian in breaststroke who also qualifies in a non-medley event.

Touching third was the veteran, the all-time great, Nathan Adrian.

Adrian, 32, clocked 21.73 to finish third, .05 quicker than his semi-final swim to mark his fastest swim since 2016. This will be the first time since 2004 that Adrian is absent from the U.S. Olympic team.

The fourth man cracking 22 second was Bowe Becker, who takes down his semi-final best time of 21.83 in 21.78. Becker now ties for 14th all-time among Americans.

A couple of teenagers, 19-year-old Adam Chaney and 18-year-old David Curtiss, took fifth and sixth, both adding less than a tenth to their semi-final swims.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 23.67 (2017)
  • American Record: Simone Manuel – 23.97 (2017)
  • US Open Record: Simone Manuel (USA) – 24.10 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Claire Curzan (USA) – 24.17 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Pernille Blume (DEN) – 24.07
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Abbey Weitzeil – 24.28
  • Wave I Cut: 25.99
  • Wave II Cut: 25.65
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 24.77
  1. Simone Manuel (ALTO), 24.29
  2. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL), 24.30
  3. Torri Huske (AAC), 24.46

Simone Manuel has always thrived under pressure, and she delivered in spades in tonight’s women’s 50 free final.

Manuel, 24, edged out a tightly-bunched field at the finishing wall in a time of 24.29, qualifying her for the U.S. Olympic team after missing the 100 free final.

Manuel’s time is her fastest since the 2019 World Championships, where she was the gold medalist in a time of 24.05.

Taking the runner-up spot was Abbey Weitzeil, meaning the two women that represented the U.S. in this event in Rio will do so again in Tokyo.

Weitzeil lowered her best time for the first time since the 2016 Trials in the semis in 24.27, and was just a touch off of that tonight in 24.30 to add a second individual event to her program. Weitzeil won the 100 freestyle a few nights ago.

18-year-old Torri Huske, who has already qualified for the team in the 100 fly, finished two one-hundredths off of her National Age Group Record in 24.46 for third, while Linnea Mack re-lowers her best time from the semis for fourth in 24.49.

Mack was disqualified in the prelims for a false start, but it ended up getting overturned.

The bottom half of the field all added a bit of time from the semis, with another 18-year-old, Gretchen Walsh, next up in fifth at 24.74. Walsh was one of five finalists that set a PB in last night’s semis, hitting a 24.64.

The others were Weitzeil, Mack, Catie Deloof and Erika Brown. Deloof (24.80) and Brown (24.93) finished seventh and eighth, with Kate Douglass (24.78) sixth.

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Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

I believe Caeleb Dressel was born 8/13/1996, meaning he is 24, & soon to turn 25.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

Why did Dressel have to mention that he first beat Adrian in 2017? Didn’t really need to be said.

Unbelievable at the end
Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

Your average blooming superstar could have forgotten about his old role-models as soon as he started to surpass them, but that clearly wasn’t Caeleb. He’s had a 4 years to do that since ‘17, but he clearly holds people like Adrian in a high regard, and for good reason. Dressel said nothing wrong.

1 year ago

Can Adrian go with the team as the team manager or something? I’m sure his presence will be appreciated by the athletes and coaches.

Last edited 1 year ago by swim4fun
1 year ago

Dressel is a class act. Funny because to me, he’s like the new mini Adrian. He’s humble, he’s good to his fans, and he is clearly thinking about the USA team, the future of swimming, and sportsmanship. Every time he interviews, like Ledecky, he talks about his teammates and praises other competitors. To me, this is where Michael Andrew has a lot to learn. I get that he trains alone and has no teammates but every time he talks it’s always “we” meaning his family and his coaching and never about “we” his competitors or his future teammates. Of course I think it’s commendable he is thankful for all his family has done for him. I’d like to see him… Read more »

Reply to  Jeah
1 year ago

If they are asking him questions about himself he should directly answer it.

Sun Yangs Hammer
1 year ago

I reckon Adrian actually has some big shoes

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
1 year ago

According to wikiFeet (didn’t realize such a thing existed until I googled “Nathan Adrian shoe size”) he’s only size 11.

That seems too small…


I don’t think Wikipedia is accurate on this one


Braden, Mel, we’ve got some hard hitting journalism that needs to be addressed! Get on this story!


He’s a size 17. I fixed the wikiFeet entry.

1 year ago

breaking news: IOC adds the 25yd free as an event and only Caeleb Dressel and Bobby Finke can race it, winner gets all the gold medals and world records the loser owns

1 year ago

Lol, Finke wanting to race a 25

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