SwimSwam Pulse: 70% Say Dressel’s 200 IM Most Impressive Off-Event

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 to pick the most impressive off-event swim of the opening weekend of college invite season.


Question: Which was the most impressive ‘off-event’ swim of the weekend?

  • Dressel’s 1:40.61 in 200 IM – 70.0%
  • Drabot’s 1:51.74 in 200 fly – 19.3%
  • Ledecky’s 3:59.69 in 400 IM – 10.7%

7 out of every 10 voters picked Caeleb Dressel‘s 1:40.61 200 IM as the most impressive off-event swim of the opening weekend of college invite season.

While invite season was once seen as a chance for the NCAA’s top handful of swimmers to make A cuts and earn automatic NCAA bids, it’s morphing into something much different for the growing elite class of athletes. With A cuts going down more and more often in primary events, the top athletes in the nation are using mid-season invites to get (semi-to-fully)-rested times in their top ‘off-events.’

That was the case with Dressel, who became the 9th-fastest 200 IMer of all-time with a time that would have won last year’s NCAA title. That event is mostly a moot point because Dressel will likely swim and win the 50 free – perhaps by more than the nearly-four-tenths-of-a-second margin he had last season.

Katie Drabot got nearly a fifth of the votes for her 200 fly. Drabot’s swim has the advantage of being a likely NCAA event entry. In that light, her swim may have been an ‘off’ event when she swam it, but may not qualify anymore. A pure distance freestyler last year, Drabot has always been impressively versatile and really geared for the 200 yard/meter distances, so adding the butterfly seems a natural fit. Her 1:51.74 currently leads the NCAA by three tenths of a second and would have taken runner-up honors at NCAAs last spring.

Katie Ledecky finished a distant third in this poll. As we’ve seen more and more often with her, Ledecky may be falling victim to higher expectations brought on by her insane career thus far. While a sub-4 IM is an incredible time, both midseason and for a non-IMer, it’s not even a lifetime-best for Ledecky, who won the Pac-12 title last year in an American record 3:57.68. That record eventually fell to teammate Ella Eastin as Ledecky swam the 200 freestyle at NCAAs. But there’s been a constant hope among fans that Ledecky would add a 400 IM to her meet repertoire, and on a deep Stanford team that could win either the 400 IM or 200 free without her (Eastin and Simone Manuel would be among the favorites, respectively), this might be Ledecky’s best chance to branch out.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters which event Katie Ledecky should opt for on Friday of NCAAs:

Which event should Katie Ledecky swim on day 3 of NCAAs?

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

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Boo. Drabot deserved it waaaaay more.


It most likely has to do with the name attached to the performance. Both swims we’re very impressive (perhaps Drabot moreso) but people associate dressel with fly and Sprint free while his IM was always speculated about what he could do. His swim helped add to the hype around his 200IM where many people probably weren’t as surprised by Drabot, despite her time being very fast

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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