Watch Caeleb Dressel’s 46.96 100 Freestyle From Underwater


Caeleb Dressel‘s performance in the final of the men’s 100 freestyle at the 2019 FINA World Championships will not soon be forgotten. Though he missed the World Record, he and Australian Kyle Chalmers put on an electrifying, if short-lived, spectacle in swimming’s biggest money event.


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (Brazil), 2009, 46.91
  • World Junior Record: Kyle Chalmers (Australia), 2016, 47.58
  • World Championships Record: Cesar Cielo (Brazil), 2009, 46.91
  • 2017 Defending World Champion: Caeleb Dressel (United States), 47.17


  1. GOLD- Caeleb Dressel (USA), 46.96
  2. SILVER- Kyle Chalmers (AUS), 47.08
  3. BRONZE- Vladislav Grinev (RUS), 47.82

Swimming in the finals of the men’s 100 freestyle Thursday evening in Gwangju, Caeleb Dressel nearlytook down Cesar Cielo‘s legendary 100 freestyle World Record, touching in 46.96, just .05 over the World Record of 46.91 from the 2009 World Championships in Rome.

Though the swim today is not an overall World Record, Dressel’s time is a new textile World Record, improving upon Australian Cameron McEvoy‘s 2016 time of 47.04.

Perhaps the most famous aspect of Dressel’s race is his start, and as expected, Dressel was off the blocks fast, emerging just shy of the 15-meter mark already in the lead. Dressel is known for going out fast, but has also been working on his back-end speed, the part of the race he where he knew Australian Kyle Chalmers would make his move.

Dressel managed a 24.67 over the second 50 of the race to touch in 46.96. Chalmers, the defending Olympic Champion who posted a huge best time of 47.08, split 22.79 and 24.29. Russia’s Vladislav Grinev took the bronze medal in 47.82, and America Blake Pieroni finished just off the podium in 47.88, his second swim ever under 48.


1st 50 22.29 22.31 22.29 22.17
2nd 50 24.97 24.86 24.67 24.74
TOTAL TIME 47.26 47.17 – Former AR 46.96* New American Record 46.91 – World Record

Dressel and Chalmers ascend higher up the all-time performer’s list. Dressel is now the 3rd-fastest performer all-time and owns the 3rd-fastest performance all-time. Chalmers is now the 6th-fastest performer all-time, and one of four Australian men among the top 10 performers all-time:

  1. Cesar Cielo (Brazil), 2009, 46.91
  2. Alain Bernard (France), 2009, 46.94
  3. Caeleb Dressel (United States), 2019, 46.96
  4. Cameron McEvoy (Australia), 2016, 47.04
  5. Eamon Sullivan (Australia), 2008, 47.05
  6. Kyle Chalmers (Australia), 2019, 47.08
  7. James Magnussen (Australia), 2012, 47.10
  8. Fred Bousquet (France), 2009, 47.15
  9. Brent Hayden (Canada), 2009, 47.27
  10. David Walters (United States), 2009, 47.33

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6-beat kick
2 years ago

I completely forgot Alain Bernard broke 47 at one point. Sure it was super suited but still surprised me.

2 years ago

The video is not avaible for France. It’s a shame…

2 years ago

I can only imagine how difficult those last 10 strokes are for Caleb.

IU Swammer
2 years ago

Dressel’s pull is so different than anyone else in the race. His catch is pretty much the same as everyone else, but watch his wrists. He has a sharper angle in his initial catch until his had gets almost under his shoulder, then his wrist goes slack and he finishes the backend of his pull earlier than anyone else. It has to cost him some dps, but I assume he makes up for it in a faster recovery. The difference between Dressel and Chalmers in their hand angles through the pull is huge.

Reply to  IU Swammer
2 years ago

I noticed that too, but I thought it looked like he was slipping especially on the left side during the back half. Wouldn’t you think the left wrist extending as much as it did would cause you to release your hold on the water and take some power away from your stroke?

I also think because he has so much power overall he is able to get a deeper catch and pull giving him an advantage (as long as he’s strong enough to hold it the whole way). Chalmer’s pull is swallower but he’s able to hold it longer (which is probably why he could make up ground at the end).

Science Geek
2 years ago

I know it’s ridiculous to nitpick Dressel’s race but I firmly believe he needs to cruise the first 50, maybe four tenths slower. We’ve seen the people behind draft off the leader repeatedly in the 100 whether they intend to or not. Even the women’s 100 has seen this be a factor more times than not and the men have a much bigger draft. I’m not trying to take anything away from Chalmers in any way and I bet he could swim 47 low again tomorrow if he tried.

25m IMer
2 years ago

I think his kicks now are different from what he did at Rio which took him a lot of energy

2 years ago

Dressel is such a nice kid. He is humble and polite, almost to a fault, it’s unique among the chest pounding sprinters. I happened to see him at a regular swim meet a month ago and the way he acted, mingled with non World Champions and posed for the 1000th photo with a smile was just a joy to watch.
There were other swimmers with Olympic history who acted much less graciously, e.g. missing the podium every time, “having something more important to do” in those 2.5 minutes.

2 years ago

Add “pp” (without the dashes) after youtube in the url of the video ( and you will be able to download the video.

Reply to  Pifgadget
2 years ago

Wow. Thank you.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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