Tom Shields Lowers Dressel’s 50 Butterfly American Record at World Cup

tom shields, ISL2021_MineKasapoglu-00540
Tom Shields -- Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu/ISL

Tom Shields Lowers Dressel’s 50 Butterfly American Record at World Cup

30-year-old American Tom Shields has recorded a very successful streak of racing in Europe over the past two months. After five weeks in Naples where he helped the LA Current secure a spot in the International Swimming League (ISL) playoffs with consistently strong performances and five individual wins, Shields has been impressive during the two stops of the FINA World Cup, in Berlin last week and now in Budapest. The latest of those efforts resulted in an American record.

In Berlin, Shields topped South Africa’s Chad le Clos in the 50 and 100 butterfly and finished a close second in the 200 fly, and in Budapest, he has won all three of those events. His third butterfly victory, in the 50-meter sprint, saw him break Caeleb Dressel’s American record in the event, a 22.04 set last year. Shields clocked 21.96, making him only the sixth man in history to break 22. Shields’ previous best was a 22.09 from the Berlin meet six days earlier.

And that was not all for Shields on the day. He has focused almost exclusively on butterfly for the entirety of his professional career, but during his high school days, he was a standout 200 freestyler, and during his college swimming career at Cal-Berkeley, he swam the 100-yard back — and won three individual NCAA titles in the event. With his butterfly work done for the meet, Shields revisited backstroke for a one-off and turned in a dominant performance. He swam a 50.50 to win the 100 back, more than a second ahead of runner-up Yakov Toumarkin of Israel (51.64).

After the day of racing, Shields told Swimming World, “I’m just working hard and keeping to my routine. I love swimming like this and look forward to continue to build.”

With this World Cup stop finished, Shields will have a brief break from racing before the last two World Cups, October 21-23 in Doha, Qatar, and October 28-30 in Kazan, Russia. Then, he will head to Eindhoven for three weeks of ISL racing as the LA Current hope to secure a spot in the ISL final for the third straight year.

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