2022 U.S. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS
- April 26-30, 2022
- Greensboro, NC
- Greensboro Aquatic Center
- LCM (50m)
- Start Times: Prelims – 9 am ET / Finals – 6 pm ET
- Worlds Qualifying Criteria
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- SwimSwam Pick ‘Em Contest
- How To Watch
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
Following yesterday’s prelim swim, many swim fans were taking notice of some technical changes by the world’s top sprinter, Caeleb Dressel. On last night’s telecast, commentator Rowdy Gaines confirmed as much, saying that Dressel has been “tinkering” with his stroke.
Dressel’s longtime coach Gregg Troy retired from coaching following the Tokyo Games, meaning Dressel switched his primary coaches to Florida’s Steve Jungbluth and Anthony Nesty. So what exactly has the Olympic champ changed, and what impact is it having on his race?
Tokyo 100 Free Final Video (August 2021)
US International Trials 100 Free Final Video (April 2022)
The most significant change comes in Dressel’s right arm, which is noticeably more vertical during the recovery than 9 months ago in Tokyo. His left arm is also slightly more vertical, though his Tokyo race displays a stroke with a fairly vertical left arm but a much more relaxed right arm.
The main result is a slightly faster stroke rate, especially through the middle portion of the race. Take a look at Dressel’s stroke rate (taken over three cycles, then averaged) at various points of the race.
|25 Meter||40 Meter||65 Meter||80 Meter|
|2021 Tokyo 100 Final (47.02)||1.12/cycle||1.14/cycle||1.17/cycle||1.19/cycle|
|2022 US Trials 100 Final (47.79)||1.11/cycle||1.11/cycle||1.12/cycle||1.18/cycle|
Known for his fantastic start and opening speed, both of Dressel’s first 25’s were fairly similar. The difference starts to come in as he gets deeper into the race, where his stroke rate begins to climb in Tokyo but maintains very consistent through the first 75 in Greensboro. Despite his closing tempo being similar, there was a much starker fall on the final third of the race, as opposed to a more gradual slowing of his tempo in Tokyo.
The other major difference between his race last night and the Olympic final is where Dressel took his final breath. In the Olympic final, Dressel took his final 15 strokes without taking a breath, holding off Kyle Chalmers to take the gold. Last night, Dressel took his last breath just 8 strokes from the wall, a significant difference from Tokyo.
One simple explanation for that difference is that he isn’t in peak form for the US Trials and will be able to close better in Budapest, or perhaps the adrenaline of an Olympic final propelled him to a near-superhuman finish. A slightly more nuanced thought is that sustaining a higher stroke throughout the race is more taxing, and may be a trade off for an unbelievable finish.
To find out the final answer, we’ll have to wait until the men’s 100 final in Budapest two months from now.