Faster Than Dressel: Jordan Crooks Is Now the Fastest Freshman 50 Freestyler

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 44

February 16th, 2022 ACC, College, News, SEC


For the 3rd time on Wednesday, Tennessee freshman Jordan Crooks has climbed the all-time rankings in the 50 yard freestyle. He won the SEC title in 18.53, making him the second-straight freshman to win that title after Alabama’s Matt King last year (who has since transferred to Virginia).

Crooks, who represents the Cayman Islands internationally, started the day with a best time of 19.39 in the 50 free. That ranked him somewhere around 200th-best all-time among all ages, and about the 31st-fastest freshman in NCAA history.

Then, in prelims of the 50 yard freestyle, Crooks swam 18.84 to tie Jimmy Feigen for 5th all-time on the freshman list.

He started Wednesdays finals session with an 18.72 leadoff leg on Tennessee’s 200 free relay to climb to 3rd.

Now, with his 18.53, he’s jumped to #1 all-time. That means he has been faster than the all-time best freshman in NCAA history, and the fastest 50 yard freestyler of any age, Caeleb Dressel.

All-Time Fastest NCAA Freshman: 50 Yard Freestyle

  1. Jordan Crooks, Tennessee, 2022 – 18.53
  2. Caeleb Dressel, Florida, 2015 – 18.67
  3. Bjorn Seeliger, Cal, 2021 – 18.71 (21 years old)
  4. David Curtiss, NC State, 2022 – 18.74
  5. Adam Chaney, Florida, 2021 – 18.76
  6. Jimmy Feigen, Texas, 2009 – 18.84

While Crooks did delay his college admission by a season, he would have been a very young freshman last year. His birthday is May 2, 2002. That makes him 19 years, 9 months, and 14 days old.

Dressel was 18 years, 7 months, and 6 days old when he swam 18.67. Dressel too happened to be a very young freshman.

Dressel had been 18.20 by the time he was Crooks’ age.

Crooks’ swim as a teenager in his first year in the NCAA is none-the-less a startling result. He is the second-fastest teenager in the history of the event, and ranks as the fifth-fastest swimmer of any age all-time.

Fastest 50 Yard Freestylers in History (All Ages)

  1. Caeleb Dressel, Florida, 2018 – 17.63
  2. Ryan Hoffer, Cal, 2021 – 18.33
  3. Cesar Cielo, Auburn, 2008 – 18.47
  4. Matt Targett, Auburn, 2009 – 18.52
  5. Jordan Crooks, Tennessee, 2022 – 18.53
  6. Ryan Held, NC State, 2018 – 18.56
  7. Vlad Morozov, USC, 2013 – 18.63
  8. Kristian Gkolomeev, Alabama, 2015 – 18.64
  9. (TIE) Pawel Sendyk, Cal, 2019/Nathan Adrian, Cal, 2011 – 18.66
  10. Brooks Curry, LSU, 2022 – 18.67

There are 17 swims ahead of Crooks. Of those 17, 12 belong to Dressel.

The former Tennessee school record was set by Kyle DeCoursey in 2019 at 18.95.

Not far behind Crooks was LSU’s Brooks Curry, an Olympic gold medalist as part of the US 400 free relay, in a time of 18.67. Curry now ranks #11 all-time

Meanwhile in Atlanta, NC State freshman David Curtiss won the title in 18.74. That shaved .03 seconds off his prelims swim and makes him now the 4th-best freshman in the history of the event.

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Jhayden Lee
7 months ago

This is wrong Caleb Dressel goes a 17:63 and holds the NCAA record for the 50 yard freestyle he has the fastest 50 yard free as of now

Jhayden Lee
Reply to  Braden Keith
6 months ago

ohhhh ok thank you!

Ol' Longhorn
9 months ago

The obvious takeaway is that killer underwaters make the 50 free. Crooks’ underwaters off the turn actually looked better than Dressel’s.

9 months ago

Rather than the pointless Dressel comparisons, I’d be more interested to hear about Crooks’ technique and his upside. He must be doing a lot of things right from a technical standpoint. What can he further improve upon to drop more time?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Hank
9 months ago

He can improve his start. With his underwaters, if he can improve his start like Dressel did during college (his vertical jump when from the high 30’s to mid 40’s), he could be the second guy to go under 18.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
9 months ago

Mid 40s isn’t just something you decide you can do. There have been 6 players in the history of the NFL combine that have gone north of 45.

The 40+ inch vertical is something that gets thrown around way too lightly. People don’t understand how rare that is. Most of the time people saying they can jump that high aren’t talking about a standing vertical they’re talking about a jump where you get steps.

Julio Jones jumped 38.5, I know who I would bet on in a jumping contest.

Last edited 9 months ago by Riccardo
Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Riccardo
9 months ago

I perfectly understand how rare it is. I also understand that it can be trained to improve, as it was in Dressel’s case. Not saying Crooks can get there, but maybe he can. 18.53 for a freshman is also extremely rare.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
9 months ago

Believe dressel’s max vertical has been reported at 43”. Potentially falls under the definition of “mid 40s” but there is a big difference between 43” and 45”—freak athlete vs. one of the highest jumpers ever recorded

Steve Nolan
Reply to  dolphin
9 months ago

I always thought it was 41″.

Which is still fantastic! But pretty soon it’s gonna be 47″ or 50+

9 months ago

“Meanwhile in Atlanta, NC State freshman David Curtiss won the title in 19.74.”

haha i don’t think so swimswam

9 months ago

Excited for four years of Crooks v Curtiss

9 months ago

Insane that the gap between 1st & 2nd is 2X the gap between 2&11th. That swim is mind boggling.

9 months ago

Sub 41 is not out of the question for this young man later this weekend. Coming in with a best time of 42.33, and he has already hacked 0.86s off his 50 free today.

9 months ago

What is his 3rd event? His underwaters were crazy

Reply to  Joe
9 months ago

He is entered in the both the 100 fly and 100 back tomorrow. 47.06 (9th seed) in fly, 47.25 (15th seed) in back. I predict he opts for the fly based on seeding alone, but that’s just my opinion.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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