Caeleb Dressel’s 40.00 Opens Eyes, Inspires Big Goals

Florida's Caeleb Dressel. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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By Dan D’Addona.

After two days of Caeleb Dressel opening the eyes of the entire swimming world at the NCAA championships, the Florida junior wasn’t done.

Dressel’s final individual race of the meet brought an audible gasp from the crowd in Indianapolis on Saturday.

Swimmers, Olympians, fans, coaches — everyone looked up at the scoreboard in near disbelief. Dressel had won the 100-yard freestyle in 40.00 seconds — the first person to reach 40 flat in history.

The time was hard to believe, but it was near disbelief because of how unbelievable Dressel’s meet has been.

He swam an 18.23 in the 50 freestyle twice in the span of an hour at this meet. He also swam the fastest 100 butterfly in history at 43.58, knocking off Joseph Schooling, the previous record holder, and Olympic gold medalist in the event. He was named the Swimmer of the Meet.

“Give credit where credit is due. Caeleb deserves a ton of credit,” Schooling said. “I am excited to race him next year.”

But before we get to next year, Dressel’s performance deserves some more reflection.

He now holds the top 10 times in the 50 free all to himself. He alone is the top 10 list.

Then he splits nearly identical times to reach the fastest 100 free in history.

“It’s amazing. He couldn’t have split it better. I was mostly impressed by that (19.1, 20.99) that is awesome. Not only him, but there were a lot of fast guys in that race that were Americans. That has me excited,” Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian said. “He is literally pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. It is fun for everyone. He drew out a fair number of people that decided to fly to this meet because he is doing what he is doing.”

It brings out the best in his competition, too.

Dressel’s 40.00 was nearly a second faster than runner-up Michael Chadwick (40.95) of Missouri, who was thrilled with his swim.

“When I saw Caeleb’s time, he was so overjoyed and gave me a big hug,” Chadwick said. “It was great to share that moment with him.”

But as eye-opening as some of his swims have been, they are starting to open the door for others to aim for those barriers Dressel has broken.

“It is the process of getting better,” NC State junior Ryan Held said. “Having him kind of go where no man has gone before is a big influence to, ‘Well if he can go 40.00, why can’t I be the next guy?’ He is a great motivator.

“The obsession to win. The one to be on the podium. That is the main driving force to try to beat him.”

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Friederang Steve
7 years ago

To go the SECOND 50 in 20.99 is simply awesome. It manifests great ankles, which we focus on in making the Fankle and in encouraging every coach to use a simple protractor each week to measure (Dressels’ coach, Gregg Troy, even bought Fankles from me back when Lochte was with him). That second 50 manifests great endurance — If you know Gregg, you know he’s not a fan of taking short cuts and having swimmers train in one dimention (USRPT). He trains progressively in distance, mid distance, and sprints and his swimmers are always as fit as any swimmer on the planet. If you missed Lochte CATCHING and then BEATING Phelps in his underwaters after years of getting smoked by Phelps, don’t miss the philosphy of coaching that gets Dressel to a second split of 20.99. God gave Dressel great speed, but coaching got him what, for example, Nathan Adrian is missing. Nathan looks like a great kicker from the top with all that white water, but he bends his knees on the up kick because his long levers are too much for his hip extensors. Such is not the case for Lochte and Dressel. I encourage coaches to learn from Coach Troy as well as Dressel, including, but not limited to, Michael Andrew.

Josh Ua M
7 years ago

Scott Shannon Alex Supple

This some mothafuckin Warp speed time travel shit

Bill Bell
Bill Bell
7 years ago

Figure 100 yards is about 90 meters.
Add another 10 percent and younget 45.0.
Then add in say .50 for each of three turns and that’s 45.50.
Even if you make each turn .75 that’s 46.25.
Cielo’s world-record from December of ’09 in a fullbody hi-tek suit is 46.91.
Nothing to it but to do it — in late July Budapest.

Gregory T. Marinelli
7 years ago

Absolutely ridiculous

Heather Malzahn Roff
7 years ago

Seamus Murron we’re going to see a 39 100 free someday!

Seamus Roff
7 years ago

Wow he is just the man !!!!

Zach Burr
7 years ago


Mike Broadway
7 years ago

Incredible swim.

Mj Mucciarone
7 years ago

Molly Mucciarone crazy, huh?

Katalin Veghely
7 years ago

i was only ever to be so lucky as break 27 seconds whist in a relay. Going 40second in a 100 is inconceivable to me. Wow! that is a race. Good for hime.

Dawn Ehler
7 years ago

Katja Ehler Stan insane!!

Tod Pierce
7 years ago


Anton Thomas
7 years ago


Jack Beckett
7 years ago
Reply to  Anton Thomas


Anton Thomas
7 years ago
Reply to  Anton Thomas

sick time that

Gian Karlo Masculino
7 years ago

Max Fermales Masculino

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