DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 31. THE final of the boy’s 100 freestyle at the junior world championships featured a big win for Caeleb Dressel in the 100 free in 48.97, a time that surpassed the USA national age group record in the 17-18 age group held by Michael Phelps since 2004.
Dressel just turned 17 on August 16 to barely be eligible for the record, and wasted no time in chasing down the 18-year-old Phelps. Phelps posted a 49.05 in February 2004 to set that record, a time that was used to help convince coaches to put him in the 400 free relay at the 2004 Olympics.
Dressel has had an amazing summer, continuing to improve on his time in the 100 free since breaking out at the USA Swimming nationals in late June. He made the championship final in Indianapolis with a 49.63, then followed it up in finals with a 49.50. That time stood as the 15-16 national age group record until the 100 free at junior nationals, when Dressel posted a 49.28 in prelims. That would be his last swim in the 15-16 age group.
In his swim, Dressel was out a full second faster than Phelps was in 2004: 23.03 to 24.18. As we have seen in his career, Phelps’ strategy (or lack of pure explosive speed) typically pays off in the end, and while Dressel did not outsplit Phelps in the final 50 (25.94 to Phelps’ 24.87), his opening half was good enough to hold off the virtual Phelps.
Tonight’s swim doesn’t move Dressel up the domestic rankings, as Conor Dwyer’s 48.94 still stands in seventh, but it promises a bright future for the Bolles School Shark.