Swim of the Week: Chalmers Lowers One of the Vaunted Super-Suited Freestyle WRs

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

The world record set by Kyle Chalmers during the fourth and final stop of the 2021 FINA World Cup circuit in Kazan has historical significance that goes far beyond the fact that it was the fastest swim in history.

Chalmers swam to a time of 44.84 in the short-course-meter men’s 100 freestyle, downing the long-standing world record of 44.94 set by France’s Amaury Leveaux in December 2008.

There are many angles one could take while exploring the gravity of this swim.

One that stands out is the fact that, prior to the performance, there were 11 individual male world records on the books set prior to 2010 (all done in a suit that’s now banned), and eight of them came in freestyle events.

On the women’s side, only one world record—Federica Pellegrini’s LCM 200 free—was set in a super-suit, but for some reason, the men’s free records have stood the test of time much better. Prior to Chalmers’ record, eight of the 12 men’s freestyle world records on the books were set in either 2008 or 2009.

We can also look at the fact that Chalmers broke the third-oldest individual world record on the books, with Grant Hackett‘s SCM 800 free (July 2008) and Michael Phelps‘ LCM 400 IM (August 2008) the only two older than Leveaux’s 100 free.

Leveaux’s 44.94 was also a record that wasn’t seriously approached many times over the nearly 13 years that it stood.

Vladimir Morozov narrowly missed it in 2018, clocking 44.95 at the World Cup stop in Singapore, and Florent Manaudou came within a tenth in 2013.

But since the record was set, the men’s 100 freestyle has been raced a total of 13 times at either the SC World or SC European Championships, and the fastest winning time? Morozov’s 45.53 from 2019, nearly six-tenths off the record.

Winning Times, SC Worlds 

Since December 2008

  • 2010 – 45.74, Cesar Cielo
  • 2012 – 45.65, Vladimir Morozov
  • 2014 – 45.75, Cesar Cielo
  • 2016 – 46.58, Simonas Bilis
  • 2018 – 45.62, Caeleb Dressel

Winning Times, SC Euros

Since December 2008

Caeleb Dressel went on a record breaking rampage during the 2020 ISL season, lowering all-time marks in the SCM 50 free, 100 fly and 100 IM, but in the 100 free, he was still 14 one-hundredths off at 45.08.

All-Time Performances

  1. Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 44.84 – 2021
  2. Amaury Leveaux (FRA), 44.94 – 2008
  3. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 44.95 – 2018
  4. Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 45.03 – 2021
  5. Florent Manaudou (FRA), 45.04 – 2013
  6. Nathan Adrian (USA) / Caeleb Dressel (USA), 45.08 – 2009/2020
  7. Amaury Leveaux (FRA), 45.12 – 2008
  8. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 45.16 – 2018
  9. Caeleb Dressel (RUS), 45.18 – 2020

All of these accolades come back to how incredible Chalmers’ performance was. The record didn’t seem to be under fire, at least from Chalmers, until the week prior in Doha, when the Australian brought his PB and National Record down from 45.50 to 45.03, indicating that maybe, just maybe, the record was within reach.

And now that he’s done it, anticipation has only been heightened for the eventual showdown between Chalmers and Dressel in the International Swimming League (ISL) Final. Dressel has beaten Chalmers head-to-head at consecutive major LCM championships in the 100 free (2019 Worlds, 2021 Olympics), both razor-thin races.

Both men have always risen to the occasion, and despite being heralded as the better short course swimmer, Dressel now has his work cut out for him with Chalmers staking his claim as the fastest 100 freestyler in the world. The matchup has swim fans salivating.

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str
2 months ago

would love to see kyle’s win against caeleb

Last edited 2 months ago by str
joe
Reply to  str
2 months ago

team dressel. team america. lezzzgobaybee

Mr Piano
2 months ago

Though of course not exact, it seems as though your 100 scm free will be about 2.0 seconds slower than your long course 100. 46.8 100 free incoming for Kyle?

Mr Piano
Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

Correction:faster….

Last edited 2 months ago by Mr Piano
HJones
Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

Depends on the swimmer, but 2.0-2.5s seems to be the average range. The higher-end of the drops are Leveaux and Vlad, with both being 44.9 SC vs. 47.7 LC.

Regardless, I am confident that if Chalmers can hang on in full health from now until the WC’s, 46.8 certainly seems realistic.

Khachaturian
2 months ago

are they swimming the 800 free at sc euros?

Dave
2 months ago

I don’t think Dressel has swim the event enough to show what he’s capable. It’s just a format that most great Americans largely ignore. How many SC World Records did Phelps ever set? Dressel has consistently held off Chalmers in LC 100 free and I think Dressel is even better and even more explosive in SC. But if Dressel rarely swims the event, especially when he’s tapered and ready to go, he’ll probably never challenge it.

Str
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Nah dressel swims a lot SCM and he is the record holder of several SCM events. U must be kidding. We just need to admit sometimes there are also others who can be better than him.

Sub13
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Can you define the word “consistently” please?

Kyle beat Dressel at the 2016 Olympics and 2018 Pan Pacs.

Dressel beat Kyle at the 2019 worlds and 2020 Olympics. Dressel also won 2017 worlds but Kyle wasn’t there.

How is that Dressel “consistently” beating Kyle lol? 2 wins vs 2 losses is “consistently” winning?

Tony
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Well, it is the truth, esp. given that Caeleb d. Kyle in both of the more recent big match-ups.. Kyle now holds ONE indiv. WR (SC 100m free). He holds ONE indiv. Olympic gold — 100m free way back in 2016. Caeleb holds FOUR indiv. WRs (LC 100m fly; SC 50m free, 100m fly, 100m IM. He won THREE indiv. WC golds in 2017 (50m free, 100m free, 100m fly), FOUR indiv. WC golds in 2019 (same three plus 50m fly) and THREE indiv. Olympic golds (same three). Also swam fastest 100m fly leg in history in any relay. Kyle is very good; Caeleb is great.

Joel
Reply to  Tony
2 months ago

Kyle would have won this year if his shoulder was ok I reckon.

Uhhh
2 months ago

SC Euro titles:
Morozov 3
Chalmers 0
Dressel 0

Who’s the greatest now eh?

Joel
Reply to  Uhhh
2 months ago

I laughed out loud then

Str
Reply to  Uhhh
2 months ago

Troll

Sub13
Reply to  Str
2 months ago

I don’t think it’s a troll, I think it’s just a joke haha

torchbearer
Reply to  Uhhh
2 months ago

Well Australia were Asian Football Champions recently, and nearly won Eurovision in 2016, so anything seems possible!

Robbos
Reply to  torchbearer
2 months ago

Well Australia in Asia makes some sense, where we have little competition in world sports like football & lesser extent swimming, whereas the other more local football (Rugby League & Union) teams thrive on Oceania competition.

Sub13
2 months ago

Wow, an American immediately commented on this article that Dressel is still better than Kyle even though Kyle just broke the world record. What a completely surprising comment. I did not see that coming at all.

HJones
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

I’m telling y’all, with how Chalmers has looked, CD’s 100 FR streak is in big trouble next May.

Tony
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Well, it is the truth. Kyle now holds ONE indiv. WR (SC 100m free). He holds ONE indiv. Olympic gold — 100m free way back in 2016. Caeleb holds FOUR indiv. WRs (LC 100m fly; SC 50m free, 100m fly, 100m IM. He won THREE indiv. WC golds in 2017 (50m free, 100m free, 100m fly), FOUR indiv. WC golds in 2019 (same three plus 50m fly) and THREE indiv. Olympic golds (same three). Also swam fastest 100m fly leg in history in any relay. Kyle is very good; Caeleb is great.

Verram
Reply to  Tony
2 months ago

Yeah but why does Dressel need to come up when it’s meant to celebrate Kyle’s achievement .. signs of insecurity from his fans I think despite all his achievements

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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