SwimSwam Pulse: 75% Pick Dressel’s 17.63 As Most Impressive of NCAAs

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


Question: What was the most impressive swim of men’s NCAAs?

  • Dressel – 17.63 in 50 free – 75.2%
  • Dressel – 42.80 in 100 fly – 6.9%
  • Finnerty – 49.69 in 100 breast – 6.9%
  • Haas – 1:29.50 in 200 free – 5.5%
  • Dressel – 39.90 in 100 free – 5.5%

In a shocking runaway of votes, SwimSwam voters overwhelmingly picked Caeleb Dressel‘s 17.63 in the 50 free as the most impressive swim of men’s NCAAs. That that swim won the poll isn’t a surprise, but the winning margin might be. More than three-quarters of votes went to Dressel’s 50 – in fact, that event tallied ten times more votes than any of the other four events on the ballot.

And that’s not just a product of a few rabid 50 free fans. This poll drew in well over double what our polls normally do in total votes. It’s our most-voted poll since July of 2017, when we asked about which supersuited world records could fall at the 2017 World Championships. Dressel himself appears to be a major poll draw among SwimSwam readers. Our most recent poll to come close to this one in volume results was our February 22 query about what time Dressel could go in a 200 free. And last year at this time, we asked whether Dressel was the greatest yards swimmer ever and received about as many responses as our question about Budapest world records over a shorter time-frame.

(That should also be evidence for international-centric commenters who continue to promote the idea that no one cares about yards times. Aside from the fact that yards times clearly make people care enough to comment about how little they care, our own numbers from comments to page views to poll votes definitively prove that outside of the Olympics and the World Championships, there is no meet that rivals the NCAA in terms of fan devotion.)

Dressel, of course, was the runaway star of the NCAA meet, smashing three hallowed barriers. But his 50 free continued to run away with popular support as an absolute game-changing swim, and forced swimming fans around the world to try to explain to their non-swimming family and friends exactly what it meant to see a man go 17 seconds in a 50 free. (We explored that idea in more depth here.)

Neither of his other two races came near his 50 free in this poll. Interestingly, the battle for second and fourth was heated – Dressel’s 100 fly gained just one single more vote than Ian Finnerty‘s 100 breast, and Dressel’s 100 free and Townley Haas‘s 200 free tied exactly for fourth.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to weigh in on Katie Ledecky‘s decision to turn pro after just two years of NCAA competition:

What do you think about Katie Ledecky's decision to turn pro after two NCAA seasons?

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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2 years ago

“And it’s not a just a product of rapid 50 free fans.” You trying to say something?

Tea rex
Reply to  50free
2 years ago

Dressel made me a rabid fan of 50s rapid like a rabbit

2 years ago

I mean…there are times when I can understand why people will have different opinions, and then there are times like this when I’m surprised anyone voted otherwise because it might as well be a fact.

Reply to  iLikePsych
2 years ago

The fact that I hadn’t even heard of Finnerty before this meet made his 49.6 more impressive for me

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
2 years ago

I’m surprised it’s not 100 percent


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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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