2019 FINA World Championships Predictions: Dressel vs. Chalmers in Men’s 100 Free

caeleb-dressel-
Caeleb Dressel will be facing off with the reigning Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2019 FINA World Championships Predictions: Men’s 100 Free

The men’s 100 free is always one of the marquee events on the Worlds and Olympic schedule and 2019 will be no different. The men’s 100 free this summer will pit the reigning World Champion, Caeleb Dressel of the United States, against the reigning Olympic Champion, Kyle Chalmers of Australia. Dressel and Chalmers raced at the Pan Pacs last summer with the Aussie coming out on top with a 48.00. Dressel indicated he had been swimming hurt last summer which led to his “poor” performances in the pool at US Nationals and Pan Pacs.

Dressel has shrugged off 2018 and is looking to win his second straight world title in the 100 free. He is currently fourth in the world with a 47.86 at a routine club meet in Atlanta in May. Dressel was likely not rested and he hasn’t been known to be a great in-season swimmer. Before this year, his best in-season 100 free was a 48.74 a couple weeks before the 2016 Olympic Trials. He followed up that Atlanta swim with a 47.90 last month at the Swim Meet of Champions in California. He will definitely be looking forward to wiping the 2018 summer away at Worlds with a potential world record in the 100 free.

Cesar Cielo’s 46.91 is still standing from 10 years ago, at the height of the suit era. Many swimmers have attempted to join the sub-47 club but none have been able to since 2009. James Magnussen was a 47.10 in 2012 and has since retired. Cameron McEvoy was a 47.04 in 2016 and hasn’t been near that since. Dressel was a 47.17 in Budapest and could be able to get under Cielo’s vaunted mark in Gwangju.

Dressel’s biggest challenge should come from 2016 Olympic Champion Chalmers. The Aussie sat out the 2017 Worlds to undergo heart surgery and picked up right where he left off in 2018. Chalmers had the fastest 100 free time out of any of the four major international meets last summer (Pan Pacs, Commonwealth Games, Europeans, Asian Games) and also showed improvement in the 200 free. The now 21-year-old has the top time in the world this year with a 47.35, which was faster than what he swam to win gold in Rio. “King Kyle” was featured on the cover of Swimming World Magazine for the July 2019 issue.

Chalmers and Dressel swim completely different race strategies, with Dressel using his insane start and Chalmers using a strong last 25. It should come down to the wire between these two and the winner could walk away with a world record.

There are plenty of other big names that will vie for the medals. Great Britain’s Duncan Scott is ranked fifth in the world for 2019 and has shown he is rapidly improving. He is one of the favorites for the gold in the 200 free and although the 200 might be his better event, he could still challenge for a medal in the 100. Scott was fifth in Budapest in a tie with Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini. Scott, who was the 2015 European junior champion in the 100 and 200 free, won six medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, including a gold in the 100 free and bronze in the 200. Those efforts caused Scott to be selected as the flag bearer for Scotland in the Closing Ceremonies. Scott has never won an individual medal at the world level, but that could change in the 200 free two days prior or in the 100.

Chierighini seems to be following in the footsteps of countrymen Joao Gomes and Nicholas Santos as they seem to get better with age. Chierighini was the runner-up in the 100 free at the 2013 and 2014 NCAAs and is swimming his best times to date at age 28. He was a 47.68 in April this year which puts him third in the world. He tied Scott two years ago and is definitely capable of winning a medal if he can replicate that swim from April.

Russia’s Vladislav Grinev is also in the mix for a medal. He broke 48 for the first time this year with that swim in April as he was fourth at Europeans last year with a 48.36. Grinev’s best time just two years ago was a 49.55 and he has already been a 47 three times this year. Grinev isn’t a household name, but he could potentially become one if he can win against this field.

Korea’s Park Seonkwon is another surprise name in the world rankings as he sits sixth right now with a 47.97. He swam that in May at the Korean Nationals and could replicate that in front of the Korean fans in Gwangju. He was a 50.03 at the Asian Games last summer and didn’t make the final. Where this jump came from this year is unknown, but the Korean crowd will definitely be a factor in getting him to a medal.

The other American in the 100 free will be Blake Pieroni. This is his lone individual event for Gwangju and his season best is a 48.80 from June. Pieroni was the surprise winner at US Nationals last summer when Dressel was injured and has proven to be a contender in this event. It’s going to be tough just to make the final but Pieroni has the experience under his belt to put his name in as a medal contender this year.

Current Records:

World Record: 46.91, Cesar Cielo, BRA – 2009
Championships Record: 46.91, Cesar Cielo, BRA – 2009
American Record: 47.17, Caeleb Dressel, USA – 2017

2017 World Champion: Caeleb Dressel, USA – 47.17
2018 Virtual World Champion: Kyle Chalmers, AUS – 48.00 (Pan Pacs)
2019 Fastest Times:

  1. 47.35, Kyle Chalmers, AUS
  2. 47.43, Vladislav Grinev, RUS
  3. 47.68, Marcelo Chierighini, BRA
  4. 47.86, Caeleb Dressel, USA
  5. 47.87, Duncan Scott, GBR
  6. 47.97, Park Seonkwan, KOR
  7. 48.04, Vladimir Morozov, RUS
  8. 48.10, He Junyi, CHN

Swimming World’s team of Andy RossDan D’AddonaDavid RiederDiana Pimer and Taylor Covington will be selecting their choices for the medals at World Championships in each event. Read below who everybody picked.

Andy’s Picks:

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Duncan Scott

Dan’s Picks:

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Duncan Scott

David’s Picks:

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Vladislav Grinev

Diana’s Picks:

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Marcelo Chierighini

Taylor’s Picks:

  1. Caeleb Dressel
  2. Kyle Chalmers
  3. Duncan Scott

2019 FINA World Championships Predictions:

Day 1:

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Day 5:

4 comments

  1. Annabelle Ancheta

    Who got the first touch the walls got the winners! Their both good but just the kicks can bet one another. 🤔😎

  2. avatar
    ALEX AME

    who gets to touch the wall first s the winner! XD

  3. avatar
    Bob

    Anyone who watched Dressel swim at NCAA Championships his senior year knows something special is ready to happen this long course season.