SwimSwam Pulse: 57% Say “No Chance” A Dressel Record Falls This NCAA Season

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which mark set by Caeleb Dressel at his record-breaking 2018 NCAA Championships could fall this season, if any:

Question: Which Caeleb Dressel record is most likely to fall this NCAA season?


  • No chance any of them fall – 57.0%
  • 100 free (39.90) – 24.1%
  • 100 fly (42.80) – 16.0%
  • 50 free (17.63) 2.8%

Dressel’s performance at the 2018 NCAA Championships might well be the best single-meet performance in college swimming history.

Records were not only broken, but obliterated.

When Dressel began college in the fall of 2014, the fastest times ever recorded in his three primary events were as follows: 18.47 in the 50 free, 40.76 in the 100 free, and 44.18 in the 100 fly.

In the last meet of his NCAA career, Dressel did the unthinkable, breaking 18 seconds in the 50 free (twice), going under 43 in the 100 fly, and cracking the elusive 40-second barrier in the 100 free.

The standards set were a notch above what anyone else could conceivably do at the time:

  • 50 free – 17.63
  • 100 free – 39.90
  • 100 fly – 42.80

When the next NCAA Championship meet rolls around this coming March, it will be five years since Dressel’s earth-shattering performance in Minneapolis.

Will any of these records go down?

The majority say no, as the option in our latest poll, No chance any of them fall, received 57 percent of the vote.

If one is to go, most believe it will be the 100 free, where Dressel only went 39.90 at the tail-end of a long meet. Pre-race, commentator Rowdy Gaines was hyping up the possibility of him breaking 39 seconds.

But still, no one was really that close to Dressel’s 100 free record last year. Bjorn Seeliger was the fastest man at 40.75, and Brooks Curry won the NCAA title in 40.84.

Perhaps Florida freshman Josh Liendo, who says he’s taking aim at Dressel’s UF records, will be the one to do it, but it’s hard to imagine that being this season.

There’s no doubt that Dressel’s performances have raised the bar in the NCAA. It used to be unheard of that we would see a sub-44 100 fly, but three different men did it last season, all of whom return in 2022-23: Andrei Minakov (43.71), Luca Urlando (43.80) and Youssef Ramadan (43.90). Liendo should also be in the same ballpark as these three, given his meters times coming in.

But like the 100 free, the swimmers are still nearly a full second back of Dressel, which is why the 100 fly only received 16 percent of the vote.

A few brave souls picked the 50 free, 2.8 percent, though that record could very well stand five more seasons after this one (if not more).

Seeliger did go 18.27 last season, making him the second-fastest performer in history, but 64 one-hundredths is an extremely long time over 50 yards.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: As we stand here at the beginning of the season, who are you backing to win the 2023 NCAA title in the women’s 100 fly?

Who is your pre/early-season pick to win the women's 100 fly at the 2023 NCAAs?

View Results

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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1650 Onetrick
1 year ago

That 50 free record isn’t going down for at least 2 decades. I just don’t see how anyone can get close to it

1 year ago

I think someone in college now will break the 100 free before they graduate.. The fly I’ll give 6 years, and the 50 10.

But then again, Seeliger would seem mightily competitive vs. Dressel any of his lesser years. It’s only Dressel’s insane senior year that makes up that huge difference, and if he dropped that much in 1 year, why can’t Seeliger?

Reply to  iLikePsych
1 year ago

Keep in mind Seeliger is already a year older than Dressel was when these records were set.

1 year ago

if you ask me, its that 100 fly, cuz take Minakov who was out in 20.1 last year, and still went 43.7, lets not forget Dressel comes back roaring in 22.8 that last 50 which is just nuts, so no matter how much front speed you have, who has the guts to put their head down an entire 25 and pull a sub 23 finish…we shall see

1 year ago

100fly and 100free will be close this year. Someone is having a great meet or perfect swim and it can happen

Wanna Sprite?
1 year ago

I think crooks and liendo have a legitimate shot at the 1free but it’s prob gonna be a couple more years

Last edited 1 year ago by Wanna Sprite?
Reply to  Wanna Sprite?
1 year ago

They do but also keep in mind that these guys are already nearing the age that Dressel was (21) when those records were set. Liendo turns 21 in under a year. Dressels physical maturation through his college years was crazy.

1 year ago

I know records are meant to be broken, but respectfully to competitors, no one is touching any of these in the next 5 years.

100 free is the most doable, but it’s at the end of NCs anyways. 39.9 would’ve won by almost a second…

Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

Respectfully I disagree with both of these. While I don’t believe any records will go down this year, a few guys arent far away from the records at all.

Like you said the 100 free is at the end of the meet and I don’t think anyone is there yet to take it down. If I were to guess at a dressel record going down, it would likely be the 100 fly first but I still think that record is safe for at least this year. I have a strong feeling though someone is going 43 low at NC’s don’t know who.

Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

39.9 is probably the “weakest”, but due to schedule anyone capable of doing that is going to be just as gassed as dressel was on the last day. Like if liendo was fresh I bet he could break it in the next couple of years, but he’s going to have all of the same responsibilities in the meet before the last day which makes it so much harder

Go Kamminga Go
Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

I know records are meant to be broken, but respectfully to competitors, no one is touching Katie Ledecky’s 400 record in the next 20 years

Oh wait….

1 year ago

Josh will break his records. The math adds up don’t @ me

L.V. Swim Dad
1 year ago

Jordon Crooks. 39.74. 100 Free!

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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