Caeleb Dressel Rockets to 51.15 Outing in 100 Butterfly at Atlanta Classic; Walsh & Hinds Tie


Caeleb Dressel Rockets to 51.15 Outing in 100 Butterfly at Atlanta Classic; Walsh & Hinds Tie

As the two-time defending world champion and world-record holder, Caeleb Dressel is the overwhelming favorite to capture the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. And based on his winning effort of 51.15 at the Atlanta Classic on Friday night, Dressel is right on target to shine on the biggest stage in the sport.

Coming off a solid performance in the 200 freestyle earlier in the night, Dressel came through in one of his pet events to beat fellow Team USA veteran Tom Shields. Out in 24.19, Dressel was just behind Shields (24.03) at the turn, but a superior back half carried Dressel to a first-place finish. Shields hit the wall in 51.55, a time that bodes well for his chances of qualifying for a second Olympic Games.

Behind Dressel, the battle for the second Team USA slot in the 100 butterfly features a number of names, including Maxime Rooney and Michael Andrew, among others. If nothing else, Shields has to feel good about his 51-mid effort at this point in the tuneup process. Finishing third in Atlanta was Luis Martinez in 51.75, with Andrew Seliskar fourth in 51.81.

Andrew was spectacular at the TYR Pro Series stop in Indianapolis, where he won the 100 butterfly in 50.80, a personal best. Andrew is in top form this weekend, as he just missed the American record in the 100 breaststroke on Thursday night.

While Dressel tracked down Shields over the second lap, there was no separating Gretchen Walsh and Natalie Hinds on the women’s side. Walsh and Hinds produced matching times of 58.61, with Rhyan White going 58.78 for third place. Walsh had a slight lead over Hinds at the turn, 27.05 to 27.19, but Hinds was able to narrowly outsplit Walsh on the second lap.