Caeleb Dressel heading to the Tokyo Olympics

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 6/23/21

CLAY COUNTY - Clay High grad and state swim champion Caeleb Dressel punched in three tickets for three individual events for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in July with an impressive week of swimming at …

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Caeleb Dressel heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Posted

CLAY COUNTY - Clay High grad and state swim champion Caeleb Dressel punched in three tickets for three individual events for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in July with an impressive week of swimming at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials in Omaha.

Dressel, who has two Olympic relay golds and a sixth place finish from the 2016 RIO Olympics, stormed to world bests in winning his three events; the 100 fly, the 50 free and the 100 free, of which he is the defending world champion in all three events.

“That 100 free was real technically correct 100 frees I’ve swum,” said Dressel in a post-swim press conference after tying the U.S. Open record of 47.39 seconds. “There is a lot of emotion in this meet after waiting for a year to get here.”

Dressel will surely be a part of numerous relays at the Olympics as well.

Dressel, 22, set a new American record of 21.04 seconds to win the 50 free with Michael Andrews a hair off at 21.48 to earn the two Olympic team spots.

Andrew, like Dressel, will be in three individual events in Tokyo with wins in the 100 breast and 200 individual medley, plus the second place in the 50 free.

Dressel’s 21.04 50 free is the top time recorded in 2021 with Russia’s Vlad Morozov second fastest at 21.41 and Great Britain;s Ben Proud third at 21.42. Andrew’s 21.48 is fourth best for 2021.

Ironically, Dressel led a plethora of University of Florida swimmers to Olympic team status with wins in the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 by Gator swimmers.

“We talked before the meet and I won’t share those conversations,” said Dressel.

Dressel’s week in Omaha included a second best split of 1:46.54 in the 200 free prelims behind eventual 200 free champion Kieran Smith, a Florida freestyler, who won the event with a 1:45.66 edging Townley Haas at 1:45.66. Dressel, who scratched the 200 free semifinal and the 200 butterfly prelims to concentrate on his sprint events, would have place seventh in the 200 with his prelim split.

In the 100 free on Wed., June 16, Dressel was fifth after prelims with a pedestrian 48.25 compared to his American record of 46.96 set in 2019.

Dressel dropped to 47.77 to be top finisher in the semifinals ahead of Zach Apple’s 47.78.

In the 100 free final, Dressel and Apple again went 1-2 with a 47.39 to 47.72 finish.

“Five years ago, I finished in the mid-30s and sat in the stands and watched them make the team,” said Zach Apple, second to Dressel in the 50 free. “I didn’t like being in the stands and watching the team get paraded around the arena. I changed my focus.”

In the 100 fly on Friday, Dressel dominated the prelims with a 50.17 that was top time by more than a second over Trenton Julian’s 51.71. Dressel owns the world and American record of 49.50.

In semifinals, Dressel again dominated with a 49.76 split over veteran Olympian Tom Shields; second in 51.20. Dressel’s splits in the prelim (50.17) and semifinal (49.76) were better than the previous U.S. Open record.

In the final, Dressel and Shields went 1-2 again, this time 49.87 to 51.19.

“I tried to not look at Caeleb next to me in the pool, but it’s hard,” said Shields. “

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