He’s Done It: Caeleb Dressel Goes Under 19 Seconds at Just 17 Years Old

When Caeleb Dressel went a supposed 19.0 in practice a few months ago, even for those who didn’t necessarily believe the watch 100%, there was some salivation going on.

Now, it’s time to drool. The 17-year old Caeleb Dressel has destroyed the 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 50 yard freestyle, swimming an 18.94 at just 17 years old. He’s now the first 18 & under swimmer (American or not) to go under 19 seconds in this race. This swim broke the 19.29 that he’s done twice: once at the Florida High School 2A State Championship meet in November, and once in prelims in the individual 50 yard free.

It’s not entirely uncommon to see 17-year old girls enter the ranks of ‘all-time greats’. Missy, Ledecky, Hoff…there’s been a few in that rare air in the past few years. But for a 17-year old male, especially a sprinter, to have a spot in any sort of ageless ranking is unbelievable.

That time by Dressel would have placed 2nd at last year’s NCAA Championship meet.

Now, Dressel now ranks 15th on the all-time, any-age list in the 50 yard freestyle. He becomes just the 19th person to break 19 seconds in that race – a ‘golden celebration’ of sorts. With another tenth-of-a-second drop (he’ll have one more shot at this race int he 50 free final later in the session), he’d move up to a tie for 8th with Jimmy Feigen.

Vlad Morozov is the second-fastest junior swimmer in the history of this event at 19.06; Seth Stubblefield is the second-fastest junior meeting the criteria for a NAG Record with a 19.41.

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bobo gigi
6 years ago

Congrats champion.

6 years ago

Congrats Caeleb!!! Awesome!!!

6 years ago

Just 17? Ian Thorpe was multiple Olympic champion at 17, so let’s put this into some perspective. Phelps was World champion and WR holder.

Reply to  Liliana
6 years ago

Dressel competes in races that are primarily dominated by
older swimmers. For example, there was only one junior swimmer in
the 100 free semi finals at the 2012 olympic trials. To crack 19 as
a still developing high school swimmer is something unheard of,
even with legends like Phelps and Thorpe out there.

Reply to  Johnny
6 years ago

Yeah John, you are right. Liliana, instead of beating down what this kid just accomplished, be happy for him and stop comparing him to someone that swam in a different decade than he did.

Reply to  Liliana
6 years ago

I agree – why hasn’t he broken any World Records or won any
Olympic golds yet?? Caeleb Dressel: NOT ELITE.

Reply to  Elite-o-meter
6 years ago

You are right elite-o-meter! Since when has being the fastest Junior sprinter ever been grounds to call someone elite?! Such and over reaction to call a 17 yo male who just became the 15th fastest 50 freestyler in history elite. High School boys always do stiff like this.

Reply to  NDB
6 years ago

I agree, plus it’s only yards. I mean most elite swimming countries outside America don’t really care about yards at all

Reply to  NDB
6 years ago

It was impressive..

But the definition of “world” is too small on this..

He already have done remarkable things on LCM.. but he is not the best junior freestyler yet after what McEvoy did already..

Reply to  Liliana
6 years ago

Something Phelps and Thorpe didn’t do: swim the fastest junior 50 free in the world. And the best by nearly a half-second in the US, a half-second!!!!!

Reply to  Liliana
6 years ago

Don’t feed the troll!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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