U.S. Olympic Trials: Caeleb Dressel Cruises to Top Seed in Prelims of 100 Butterfly; Shaine Casas Scratches

U.S. Olympic Trials: Caeleb Dressel Cruises to Top Seed in Prelims of 100 Butterfly; Shaine Casas Scratches

The reigning Olympic champion in the 100-meter butterfly, Caeleb Dressel took the first step toward defending that title on Saturday morning at the United States Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. The world-record holder registered a time of 51.14 to take the top seed for the semifinals, outdistancing the second seed, Zach Harting, by .35. Harting won the last of the preliminary heats behind a swim of 51.49.

Dressel raced in the first of the circle-seeded heats, next to Ryan Murphy, his fellow three-time Olympian. Murphy has already qualified for the Paris Games in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke and, much like Aaron Peirsol in the past, opted for the 100 fly as an additional event on his Trials slate. Murphy touched for ninth place in 52.24.

It will be a busy night for Dressel, who will have the final of the 50 freestyle before the semifinals of the 100 fly. Dressel has already qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris as a member of the American 400 freestyle relay, but is chasing his first individual invitation.

The  North Caroline State duo of Aiden Hayes (51.58) and Luke Miller (51.74) advanced in third and fourth while Dare Rose was fifth in a swim of 51.88. Coming off a bronze medal in the 100 fly at last summer’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Rose entered Trials among the favorites for an Olympic bid. He gained momentum earlier in the meet when he finished fourth in the 200 butterfly, his secondary event. Over the four-lap distance, the Cal standout produced a time of 1:55.70, and his opening effort in the 100 fly was smooth.

In a surprise, No. 2 seed Shaine Casas scratched out of the event. Casas has the final of the 200 individual medley during the evening session and is placing his full Paris hopes on a top-two finish in that event.

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