Kennedy Goes 21.7, Dressel 19.1 To Win 2017 Jax 50 Tournament Shootout

Caeleb Dressel and Madison Kennedy won the headlining 50 free sprint shootouts at the JAX 50 meet in Florida over the weekend.

The JAX 50 meet brings in a platoon of pro sprint swimmers to compete in a tournament bracket of 1-on-1 50 yard freestyle shootouts, with the winners moving further on in the tournament. Dressel won his first JAX 50 title in the 50 free, while Kennedy returned to the throne for the first time since 2014.

The 50 free shootout was conducted in yards, though the Friday session of the meet was long course meters with a full event lineup. You can find full results here.

Women’s Bracket

Round 1:

The women’s bracket opened up with three relative blowouts and one extremely tight battle. Madison Kennedywho won this event three years ago, started it off with a blazing 22.23 to top Abi Wilder‘s 24.71. Wilder is a high school senior for the Bolles School Sharks who will compete for Auburn next season.

Savannah College of Art and Design’s NAIA standout Jules Woody won a showdown with another Florida high school sprinter: Kirschtine Balbuenaa current junior who competes for Gator Swim Club.

Easily the closest opening matchup was Brazilian World Champs team member Daiane Becker (de Oliveira) against 16-year-old Gator Swim Clubber Isabel IveyBecker was 23.20 to touch out Ivey’s 23.22.

Finally, Tennessee Volunteer (and former FGCU star) Kira Toussaint went 22.59 to beat 18-year-old Claire Maiocco of Trinity Prep by exactly one second.

Round 2:

Winner’s Bracket:

  • Kennedy 22.08 – Woody 23.14
  • Toussaint 22.55 – Becker 23.68

Consolation Bracket:

  • Balbuena 23.79 – Wilder 24.94
  • Maiocco 23.58 – Ivey 23.65

Kennedy blasted a 22.08 to win her second-round match convincingly. Toussaint also dropped time from her first effort, beating Brazil’s Becker by a second.

An all-teenager consol bracket produced some thrilling finishes, most notably the 18-year-old Maiocco’s .07 win over 16-year-old Ivey. Meanwhile 16-year-old Balbuena topped 17-year-old Wilder.

Round 3:


  • Kennedy 21.76 – Toussaint 22.40

Bronze Medal Match:

  • Woody 23.10 – Becker 23.96

5th-Place Match:

  • Balbuena 23.72 – Maiocco 24.04

7th-Place Match:

  • Ivey 24.08 – Wilder 24.64

Toussaint continued to get faster with each round, but was no match for Kennedy, who did the same and actually dropped a 21.79 in the final. That’s the third-best swim of her career, and just a tenth off her own lifetime-best of 21.68 from the year 2015.

Woody topped Becker for bronze by about eight tenths, while the consol bracket finishes were once again close. Balbuena won that group overall, beating Maiocco 23.72 to 24.04.

Men’s Bracket

Round 1:

Dressel was the top seed, coming in with the American record time and coming off a banner junior season for the University of Florida. He cruised to the top time of the first round, beating 17-year-old Isaac DavisLike Dressel was, Davis is a Bolles School prospect and has verbally committed to Florida. He’ll join the Gators in the fall of 2018, right after Dressel’s graduation.

2008 and 2012 Olympian Cullen Jones went 19.82 to win his opening round. At 32, he was the oldest man in the shootout by three years. In round 1, he actually beat the second-oldest swimmer: Brazilian Olympian Nicolas Oliveiracompeting as Nicolas Nilo as he did during his college career.

Nilo is 29 and will turn 30 in four months. Fellow 29-year-old Josh Schneider also won an opening-round fight. The 2014 and 2015 JAX 50 winner, Schneider was crafty with his first swim, doing only what he needed to to win. His 19.98 was the slowest opening round winning time, but with two more rounds to go, Schneider was saving valuable energy. He beat Will Davisthe brother of Isaac Davis who will also join Florida in 2018.

Finally, NC State grad and Lithuanian Olympian Simonas Bilis topped Joel Ax for the final win. Bilis was part of NC State’s NCAA explosion over the past few years, while Ax was an NAIA standout for the Savannah College of Art and Design who hails from Germany.

Round 2:

Winner’s Bracket:

  • Dressel 19.17 – Jones 19.33
  • Schneider 19.53 – Bilis 19.65

Consolation Bracket:

  • Nilo 20.10 – I. Davis 20.54
  • W. Davis 20.29 – Ax 20.92

The speed really started to come out in round 2, with Dressel edging out Jones by .16 in a battle of U.S. Olympic gold medalists. Schneider once again sealed a narrow win over Bilis as both NC State alums fell in the semis.

Round 3:


  • Dressel 19.29 – Schneider 19.48

Bronze Medal Match:

  • Jones 19.57 – Bilis 19.73

5th-Place Match:

  • W. Davis 20.14 – Nilo 20.29

7th-Place Match:

  • I. Davis 20.74 – Ax 21.02

Schneider continued to get faster with each round, but it wasn’t enough to track down Dressel, who served a blistering 19.29 to win the title. He becomes the second Dressel to win this tournament after his sister Sherridon won the women’s title last year.

In the battle of former NC State standouts, Jones topped Bilis for 3rd, while the Davis brothers won their consolation bracket swims.

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Would have been cool to have the Isaac brothers race in a final round lol


The Davis* brothers excuse me


I know the meet is done by brackets. Question is how are the brackets setup? Not sure, but make it would make for a better championship final if 2nd round was 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 from round 1. But maybe round 1 is setup so that swimmers earn their 1-8 ranking based on PB’s or season bests and then it is probably the best way doing the meet.


Dressel in a brief. Had Schneider by a quarter body-length after the breakout off the start.


His start is the best in the world


Tandy might argue.

Y Choi

Dressel is not quite as fast as Tandy off the start but where he asserts himself is in the translation of that momentum through his underwaters




As my coach always said, the start does not end off the block, but at the breakout.


Was everyone else in suits?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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