U.S. International Team Trials: Caeleb Dressel Takes 100 Fly Title in 50.20, ‘Didn’t Execute The Way I Should Have’ (VIDEO)

Caeleb Dressel -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. International Team Trials: Caeleb Dressel Takes 100 Fly Title in 50.20; Michael Andrew Second

After swimming a sizzling 50.01 in the 100 butterfly prelims for the fastest time in the world, those in the building at the Greensboro Aquatic Center wondered if Caeleb Dressel could challenge his own world record in the event in the final. As it turned out, Dressel did not have another gear to turn to, and he ended up in a closer-than-expected race with Michael Andrew, but he pulled away on the second 50 to claim his third victory in three days of racing at the U.S. International Team Trials.

Dressel punched the wall in 50.20, three-quarters of a second shy of his world record (49.45) set on his way to Olympic gold at last year’s Tokyo Games. After swimming the 11th-fastest time in history in prelims, Dressel’s finals swim was the 17th-quickest effort, and the only other men to have ever swum faster are Kristof MilakMichael Phelps and Milorad Cavic.

But Dressel did not mince words about his thoughts on the performance.

“It was bad,” he said bluntly. “I wasn’t going to break a world record tonight with where we’re at. I think I could have been faster. I’m not going to say what I think I should have gone tonight. I just didn’t execute the way I should have.”

Dressel later added that he is pleased to be building his confidence with each swim, and he is pleased to have nailed down his pre-race warmup routine at this meet after it was “all over the place” during a pair Pro Swim Series meets over the past two months. “Freshman, am I right?” he joked. “Just getting the routine down, and my confidence is getting there more and more each swim. But the actual swims from tonight? No, I didn’t really like it, but we learned from it.”

Andrew took second in 50.88, just eight hundredths off his own lifetime best of 50.80, and he will represent the U.S. in the 100 fly for the first time at the World Championships. Third went to Trenton Julian, who split a 26.62 on the second length (matching Dressel’s split) to move up from seventh to third. Julian put up a time of 51.10, his second lifetime best of the day after he already qualified for the World Championships in the 200 butterfly and as part of the U.S. men’s 800 freestyle relay.

Andrew qualified for the U.S. Olympic team last year in the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM and 50 freestyle, but he skipped the 100 fly at Trials because of a busy event schedule over the last few days of the meet. His lifetime best in the event actually came at a TYR Pro Swim Series meet about one month before Trials, and he ended up with the second-fastest time by any American swimmer for 2021, so he ended up feeling a little bit bummed about that lineup choice.

“I was grateful that Shaine (Casas) pulled out of the fly because I knew that Shaine would be a really tough competitor in that race, and so it definitely gave me some breathing room,” Andrew said. “It’s an event that I’ve always loved, and having gone that 50.8 in Indy leading up to Trials, it was a bit of a bummer not to swim it, but to be able to do that here is great. I don’t think my 100 fly is where it should be. I think it should be a lot faster. I’m looking to be under 50 by Worlds. A lot of work needs to still be done. If there’s any race that I wasn’t confident in securing a spot on the team, it was the 100 fly. The fly hasn’t clicked until today, so it was nice.”

Dare Rose, Julian’s training partner at Cal, dropped more than a second to qualify for the final, and he took off another three tenths in finals as he placed fourth in 51.40. Luca Urlando, who won the 200 fly in a tight finish over Julian, placed fifth in 51.76.

Andrew will compete in the 100 breast Friday, while Dressel will take the day completely off after earning a win on each of the meet’s first three nights. And he’s not complaining about having some downtime in the middle of a tough meet.

“I have a day off tomorrow, so I’m pretty much checked out,” he said. “I’m going to sleep in until noon. Nesty told me not to come at all tomorrow in the morning, so I’ll swim in the afternoon. I’m very excited for the 50. It’s a very fun way to end the meet. I’d rather start the meet with the 50 than the 100 free, but once it’s last, we have all the hard events out of the way.”



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