U.S. International Team Trials: Caeleb Dressel Tops Michael Andrew in 50 Freestyle for Fourth Victory

Caeleb Dressel -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. International Team Trials: Caeleb Dressel Tops Michael Andrew in 50 Freestyle for Fourth Victory

Caeleb Dressel possesses speed unlike any other swimmer in the world, and he flashed that talent in the 50 freestyle final at the U.S. International Team Trials, the final championship event of the week. Dressel used his signature start-underwater-breakout competition to emerge ahead of the field, and he never surrendered that advantage, even as Michael Andrew closed the gap.

Dressel touched in 21.29, 0.16 ahead of Andrew’s mark of 21.45, to snag his fourth victory this week. Previously, Dressel topped the field in the 100 free and both sprint butterfly events. Dressel was a quarter-second off his own American record of 21.04, but his mark is the fastest in the world for 2022, and Andrew moved into the No. 2 position in the world rankings. He also sliced one hundredth off his 2018 lifetime best of 21.46.

After he finished, Dressel removed his cap and flung it onto the pool deck behind him. He pulled himself onto the lane line, showed the distinct University of Florida “Gator chomp” and slammed the water in excitement. His swim completed a clean sweep of the men’s freestyle events by Florida swimmers.  After Dressel won the 100 free on the first day of the meet, Kieran Smith won the 200 and 400-meter events, and Bobby Finke dominated the 1500 free and then the 800 free on the final day.

After his previous finals race, Thursday’s 100 butterfly, Dressel said, “It was bad,” and he added, “I just didn’t execute the way I should have.” This time, however, Dressel was quite clearly thrilled.

“Well, Bobby didn’t make it easy for me, so I feel like a lot of pressure was on me,” Dressel said. “That was the final freestyle swim for UF, so I had a lot of pressure. I wanted to win that one. It’s a clean sleep. I’m really happy with the time. I thought I was going to be 21.3 or 21.4 tonight. I cleaned up some things from this morning, and it just kind of came out.”

Andrew finished almost four tenths clear of the rest of that field, with Brooks Curry (21.84) and Ryan Held (21.85) the best of the rest. Both swimmers qualified for the Worlds team by placing third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 freestyle at the start of the meet.