Swimming World December 2021 Presents – The 2021 World Swimmers of the Year: Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon

Swimming World December 2021 - World Swimmers of the Year - Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon
[Photos Courtesy of Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports]

 

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The 2021 World Swimmers of the Year: Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon

By John Lohn and David Rieder

 

CAELEB DRESSEL
Male World and American Swimmer of the Year
Given the option, Caeleb Dressel would avoid the flashbulbs. He would hop out of the water, his latest scintillating performance registered, and disappear. Such is the personality of the American standout, whose unassuming and measured nature runs counter to the explosiveness he brings to the pool.

As much as Dressel may prefer to dodge the spotlight, his aversion to attention has not impeded his climb up the ladder of all-time greats in the sport. When the pressure is at its peak and Dressel is challenged to produce, the Florida native simply rises to the moment and taps into the talent he possesses.

Ahead of last summer’s Olympic Games, vast expectations were heaped on Dressel, whose multi-medal potential led to comparisons with the past three iconic American stars: Mark Spitz, Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps. Because the initial date of the Tokyo Games was derailed by to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dressel had to carry the weight of his country for an extended period.

No problem.

Five years after making his Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro, Dressel flourished in Tokyo, sandwiching a pair of relay titles with his United States teammates around three individual gold medals that left no doubt about his status as swimming’s No. 1 headliner. In voting for Swimming World’s Male World and American Swimmer of the Year, Dressel claimed all 11 first-place votes in both categories. During his spectacular run in Tokyo, Dressel was masterful at managing both his emotions and athletic exploits—not that the balancing act was easy.

 

EMMA McKEON
Female World and Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
After the 2020 Olympics that were rescheduled for 2021 due to COVID, McKeon is an undisputed star. She is still a clutch relay performer, but now she has two individual Olympic gold medals to add to that tally. Consider the amazing Olympics the 27-year-old from Wollongong, New South Wales, put together this year: She had the fastest split (51.35) on the 400 free relay as she led Australia to gold and a world record. She then added bronze medals in the 100 fly and 800 free relay.

Next came individual gold, as McKeon took the 100 free final by storm and never looked back. Her time of 51.96 was the second-fastest mark in history. The next day, she anchored Australia’s mixed 400 medley relay to another bronze. And on the meet’s final day, McKeon won double gold, smashing a 23.81 in the 50 free to win by 26-hundredths—an enormous margin for the one-lap race—and then putting up a strong butterfly split (55.91) on Australia’s 400 medley relay on the way to another triumph.

That left McKeon with four gold medals and seven total medals, breaking a mark shared by East Germany’s Kristin Otto and the United States’ Natalie Coughlin for the most medals ever by a female swimmer at one Olympics (previously six). Sure, McKeon had more relay chances than either of her predecessors, but this was the event schedule on the table, and she took full advantage.

McKeon’s four gold medals plus her one gold from the 2016 Olympics tied her with Ian Thorpe for the most career gold medals by an Australian Olympian in any sport, and her 11 career Olympic medals smashes the previous record for most by an Aussie Olympian, with Thorpe and Leisel Jones having shared the previous mark of nine.

 

To read more about Caeleb Dressel, Emma McKeon, and 2021 Swimmers of the Year
Zac Stubblety-Cook (Male Pacific Rim)

Katie Ledecky (Female American)
Evgeny Rylov & Sarah Sjostrom (European)
and Ahmed Hafnaoui & Tatjana Schoenmaker (African),
Click here to download the December 2021 issue of Swimming World, available now!

Swimming World December 2021 - World Swimmers of the Year - Caeleb Dressel and Emma McKeon Lead the Way - Double COVER[Dressel Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher / USA Today Sports]

 

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FEATURES

014 2021 SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona, Matthew De George, John Lohn and David Rieder
World: Caeleb Dressel (Male American) & Emma McKeon (Female Pacific Rim)
Male Pacific Rim: Zac Stubblety-Cook
Female American: Katie Ledecky
European: Evgeny Rylov & Sarah Sjostrom
African: Ahmed Hafnaoui & Tatjana Schoenmaker

022 THE TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF 2021
by John Lohn
Five-time Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel heads the list of the best swimming performances produced in 2021, thanks to his world record in the 100 meter butterfly at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Overall, the top 10 performances consisted of seven women’s efforts and three from the men. A further breakdown reveals seven individual swims and three world record-setting relays.

025 HONG KONG HERO
by David Rieder
People gathered in shopping malls, crowding in front of big screens to watch their national hero race for Olympic medals. Others watched on office conference room TVs, while passengers on the train had their mobile devices tuned to the Tokyo Games. What they saw was Siobhan Haughey become the first and only Olympian from Hong Kong to capture multiple medals—two silvers in the 100 and 200 freestyle.

032 ISHOF FEATURE: AQUATOTS MURDER CASE—THE KATHY TONGAY STORY (Part 3)
by Bruce Wigo
This is the final story of a three-part series about “The Aquatots Murder Case” regarding the death of 5-year-old Kathy Tongay and the subsequent murder charge against her father, Russell. This month’s episode: Russell Tongay’s appeal, life in (and out) of prison, what happened to Kathy’s brother, Bubber, and the impact the case had on age group sports in America.

044 NUTRITION: HOLIDAY/INTENSE TRAINING
by Dawn Weatherwax
To train hard, you need to eat hard! Make sure you put as much emphasis on nutrition and sleep as you would on your workouts.

COACHING

036 COACHING IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
Last month, in Part 1, Swimming World explored how COVID-19 altered swim training as we have known it. This month, we look at some issues and opportunities facing club swimming as it strives to be the sport of choice for a younger generation.

042 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: MAXIMIZING SWIMMING VELOCITY (Part 6)—THE PUSH PHASE
by Rod Havriluk
In freestyle and butterfly, swimmers typically decrease the push phase time to increase stroke rate and swimming velocity. In doing so, the premature upward motion of the elbows pulls the hands upward and compromises propulsion. Most swimmers can gain additional propulsion on the push phase by pushing the hand backward instead of pulling the hand upward.

045 SPECIAL SETS: ZOE DIXON—VERSATILITY IS KEY
by Michael J. Stott
Zoe Dixon, 2021-22 National Junior Team member, has had quite a year. Swimming for Coach Norm Wright at NOVA of Virginia, the 17-year-old is ranked No. 1 in Virginia and 11th nationally for the Class of 2022, and has committed to the University of Florida.

047 Q&A WITH COACH BRENT BOOCK, ELMBROOK SWIM CLUB (Wis.)
by Michael J. Stott

048 HOW THEY TRAIN CAMPBELL STOLL
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

041 DRYSIDE TRAINING: FINISH STRONG
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

051 UP & COMERS: THOMAS HEILMAN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS & SPECIAL SECTIONS

012 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

013 DID YOU KNOW: ABOUT THE 1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES?

028 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

050 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

052 GUTTERTALK

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2 Comments
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Joel
8 months ago

Sorry, do they even realise that they left Emma off the cover? I know it’s a US publication but really?

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Admin
Reply to  Joel

It is a dual cover, with Emma on one of the sides.