Tokyo Vision: Who Wins Duel Between Caeleb Dressel & Kyle Chalmers in 100 Free?

SUBMARINERS Caeleb Dressell and Kyle Chalmers would take the 100m freestyle down to the wire. Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Tokyo Vision: Caeleb Dressel & Kyle Chalmers Set to Duel in 100 Freestyle

Had the COVID-19 pandemic not shaken the world, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo would be unfolding right now, titles and podium finishes earned by the finest athletes from around the world. Instead, we are in a competition lull and hopeful that the Games will be held next summer, with COVID-19 neutralized.

As we reach the nine days over which the swimming competition of a delayed Olympiad would have taken place, Swimming World is taking a glimpse at what might have unfolded this summer, had the Olympics not been postponed. Following the official schedule, we offer our virtual fields of eight finalists for each event and take a brief look at how the racing might have panned out until a few strokes away from decision and a result that will not be known until July/August 2021.

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Event: Men’s 100 Freestyle
World Record: Cesar Cielo (2009) – 46.91

Historical Note #1: In 1924, a Romanian emigrant to the U.S. named Johnny Weissmuller beat the defending champion, Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku and his brother Sam in the 100 freestyle Olympic final in Paris after becoming the first swimmer in history to break the minute – clocking 58.6 seconds (later lowered to 57.4).


TWO-TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPION TO TARZAN: Johnny Weissmuller who would win back-to-back Olympic 100m gold medals before his debut as Tarzan The Ape Man in 1932.  Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

Four years later Weissmuller defended his title in Amsterdam after swallowing a mouthful of water, causing him to lose two yards. But he regained his composure to overpower the field to win the fourth of his five Olympic gold medals. Back in the U.S., as Weissmuller prepared for the 1932 Olympics in L.A., he was noticed swimming in a pool on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard and was asked to try out for the part of Tarzan. Later that year, he didn’t swim in L.A. but made his debut in “Tarzan The Ape Man” and went on to act in 11 more Tarzan films over the next 16 years. His world record, first set in 1922, stood until 1934.

Historical Note #2: American Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines had ben tipped to win four gold medals at the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games and had to wait four years to have another crack. It was a tip from coach Richard Quick that saw Gaines win the first of his golds in a controversial 100m freestyle final in 1984. Quick told Gaines that Panamanian starter Francisco Silvestri had a reputation of being quick to pull the trigger and Gaines was quick to react, leaving his fellow American Mike Heath and Australian Mark Stockwell behind. Gaines would hold on to win in a new Olympic record of 49.80 with the fast finishing Stockwell taking the silver in 50.24 and Per Johansson (Sweden) the bronze in 50.31, one tenth of a second ahead of Heath in fourth. Protests from the Australians claiming an “unfair start” were dismissed and Gaines survived to become the ninth American to claim the blue ribbon 100 freestyle gold since Charles Daniels in Athens in the Intercalated Games of 1906. Gaines would also anchor the U.S. to golds in the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.

Virtual Vision

The Finalists (Listed Alphabetically)

  • Kyle Chalmers – Australia
  • Marcelo Chierighini – Brazil
  • Caeleb Dressel – USA
  • Vladislav Grinev – Russia
  • Ryan Held – USA
  • Clement Mignon – France
  • Nandor Nemeth – Hungary
  • Duncan Scott – Great Britain

The Race

This highly anticipated blue ribbon 100 freestyle final has the atmosphere of a world championship title fight, with Caeleb Dressel (USA) and Kyle Chalmers (AUS) renewing their rivalry, and Duncan Scott (GBR) and Ryan Held (USA) also vying for this most sought after crown.


Ryan Held excited after another victory. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

They are in the starters hands and reigning world champion Dressel, the flying Condor, was – as usual – quickest off the blocks, ahead of fellow countryman Held, who is looking to repeat his time from the 2019 U.S. Nationals, which made him the third fastest American in history.

The American boys know they have to do enough through these early stages to stave off the defending champion, big Chalmers from Australia who has the best back end in the business. Scott also is an exceptional finisher and will be a threat.

Dressel and Held are almost locked together at the turn, but Chalmers has the U.S. lads in his sights. Last year in Gwangju, it was Dressel who withstood Chalmers’ challenge, but the boy from Down Under appears to be closer to the Condor than he was 12 months ago.

Dressel, the only swimmer in the field to have swum under 47 seconds, is now slightly ahead of Held and Chalmers, with Scott also in the mix.  The other four finalists are almost in a line across the pool, with the Russian Grinev and Brazilian Chierighini preparing to make their challenges for the Olympic podium.

Would Caeleb Dressel find something extra or would Chalmers produce his withering trademark finish and not give him, Scott or Held an inch in what would be a thrilling final ten, nine, eight, seven meters. With five meters to swim, it looked like Cesar Cielo would lose his world record of 46.91….with Dressel in front in a finish for the ages.


  1. avatar

    Kyle wins

    • avatar

      Kyle in a cracker of a race.

  2. avatar

    Kyle Chalmers will win and will defend his title.