NA Recap: 5 American, Yet No World Records For U.S. On Day 1


America has long been the dominant force in swimming. Breaking an American Record often meant you also broke the world record, or were at least really close, but that is no longer the case.

On day 1 in Budapest, five American Records fell, which is an impressive haul especially in a post-Olympic year. However, none of those American Records were relatively close to the world record.

This isn’t a knock on the American swimmers, it’s simply recognition that the world continues to get faster and erase the gap that has previously existed between the Americans and everyone else.

Americans currently own 14 of the 40 LC world records (not including mixed relays), lightyears ahead of the next highest countries (Great Britain and China have 4 each), but they no longer reign dominance across a majority of events like in the past. On the U.S. World Championship team, only two swimmers hold an individual LC world record: Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy.

Kevin Cordes broke his American Record by a tenth, lowering it to 58.64, but is still over 1.5 seconds behind world record holder Adam PeatyMallory Comerford had an incredible lead-off in the women’s 400 free relay, breaking the American Record in 52.59, but is still nearly nine tenths back of Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom.

The world has caught up, and that just makes everything all the more interesting.

Here’s a breakdown of all five American Records broken on day 1:

  • Caeleb Dressel went 47.26 leading off the men’s 400 free relay, breaking David Walters‘ eight-year-old super-suited AR of 47.33 from the 2009 World Championships. He blows away the world’s fastest time of the year, previously 47.90 by Duncan Scott, and now has to be considered the favorite for gold in the 100 free. The world record remains at 46.91 from Cesar Cielo in 2009.
  • Earlier in the session Dressel broke another ’09 record, the 50 fly mark of 22.91 by Bryan Lundquist. Dressel qualified 1st overall for the final in 22.76.
  • Cordes’ mark of 58.64 lowers his own record of 58.74 from U.S. Trials a month ago. There, he broke Cody Miller‘s AR of 58.87 set in Rio when he won the bronze medal. The two head into the final seeded 2nd and 3rd behind defending champ Peaty.
  • Comerford’s 52.59 broke Simone Manuel‘s record of 52.70, set in Rio when she won the Olympic gold medal. Manuel produced a nasty split of her own on the anchor of the relay, splitting 52.14. Taking out reaction times, Manuel was actually a bit faster ‘through the water’ than Comerford.
  • The American women, led by Comerford and Manuel, broke the American Record in the 400 free relay on their way to gold. They clocked 3:31.72 to erase their 3:31.89 from Rio where they won silver.

Other Record Swims From North Americans On Day 1:

  • Katie Ledecky three-peated in the women’s 400 free, twice breaking the Championship Record. She now owns nine of the ten fastest swims in history.
  • Melanie Margalis became the fastest American ever in the 200 IM in a textile, passing Maya Dirado (2:08.79) with her swim of 2:08.70 to qualify 2nd for the final.
  • Canada’s Sydney Pickrem qualified 3rd for that final, lowering her own Canadian Record by four tenths in 2:09.17.
Rank Federation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States of AmericaUnited States of America 3 1 0 4
Total 3 1 0 4

The U.S. was the only North American country to medal on day 1, with Canada narrowly missing bronze in the women’s 400 free relay in 4th.

Ledecky delivered the first American gold of the meet in the 400 free, and Leah Smith added a silver with her runner-up performance.

The 400 free relays got the job done to finish the session off, both winning gold in close races. The American men regain the world title for the first time since 2009, while the women get theirs back after losing it to Australia in 2015.

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5 years ago

Does anyone know what suit he is wearing ?

Reply to  yah
5 years ago


Mr. Nice Guy
5 years ago

Why is Dressel ‘deleting’ his eagle tattoo? Can someone please explain!?

Reply to  Mr. Nice Guy
5 years ago

He said he’s replacing it with a Florida Gators sleeve tattoo. Bums me out. That Eagle tattoo was awesome

Reply to  Mr. Nice Guy
5 years ago

He said in an interview that he wants to get a full sleeve done by a single tattoo artist, the same one who did the gator head and flowers on his forearm, so everything flows better. He’s is fading out the one on his shoulder and getting more ink later.

Years of Plain Suck
Reply to  Dudeman
5 years ago

I’ve been curious about this as well. Anyone know how expensive and painful is it to go through a large tattoo removal process?

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
5 years ago

It’s said to be more painful than getting the tattoo itself, which is fairly painful to begin with and can range from 60-300$ per session with multiple sessions being required for larger tattoos and darker ink. At least that’s what I discovered after 2 minutes on google

Reply to  Years of Plain Suck
5 years ago

Hurts less than a swim practice.

Reply to  Mr. Nice Guy
5 years ago

Also, don’t you need to take a couple days out of the water after a tattoo? How does he get them without missing practice?

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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