Veterans Re-Emerge Ahead of the 2023 U.S. World Championships Trials

caeleb-dressel-

Veterans Re-Emerge Ahead of the 2023 U.S. World Championships Trials

Although USA Swimming is flooded with young talent, veterans always seem to emerge in the biggest moments. Over the last several months, a group of star-studded veteran swimmers have put together impactful races all over the country. Whether it be just one meet or a recently found consistency, they all have one thing in common: these Olympians’ competitive fire is still lit.  

Below is an in-depth look at the most recent months of competition and how performances might shed light on the presence of some of the most recognizable veterans at the 2023 U.S. World Championship Trials. 

The Biggest Fish

Caeleb Dressel has returned. Although it’s not breaking news, it is worth noting that Dressel raced for the first time in 11 months at the Atlanta Classic in May. This was the first meet back for USA Swimming’s most well-known sprinter since the 2021 FINA World Championships in Budapest. 

Dressel took a sizeable break from the sport to get healthy both mentally and physically. Based on a small sample size, it seems the 26-year-old has found his footing once again ahead of World Trials at the end of the month. Based on his racing portfolio from Atlanta, Dressel is only a tick off where he has been in the past during in-season competitions. 

Event at Atlanta Classic Time 
50m Freestyle  22.57 
100m Freestyle  50.29 (Prelims) 
50m Butterfly  24.83 
100m Butterfly  52.41 
200m Butterfly  2:05.81 (Prelims) 

The Florida pro group is known to work very hard in-season and Dressel would be the last guy to lose sleep over a subpar in-season swim. Based on recent results and the amount of time Dressel spent away from the pool, impactful swims are on the horizon in Indianapolis. 

Back in Form 

After finding a new home at Arizona State, Simone Manuel has put herself in the mix for a spot on the World Championships Team this summer. Following a long hiatus from competition, Manuel returned to racing at the Knoxville TYR Pro Swim Series in January. This was the first major meet for the 26-year-old since the Olympic Games in 2021. 

After struggling with overtraining syndrome, Manuel has settled down in Tempe, Arizona with Bob Bowman’s growing pro group. The former Olympic champion was not giving her body enough time to rest and recover and had to take a lengthy break from the sport. For the first time in almost two years, Manuel has raced consistently since the start of the calendar year. 

Manuel eased back into racing in January. She was able to secure third-place finishes in both the 50m and 100m freestyles in Knoxville. After also racing in Ft. Lauderdale, Westmont, Mission Viejo, and most recently at the Sun Devil Open, Manuel looks to have found some consistency again in both her racing and training regiments. 

Here is a look at the progression of Manuel’s 50m and 100m freestyles throughout 2023: 

Meet  50m Freestyle  100m Freestyle 
2023 Sun Devil Open (June)  25.22   54.93
Mission Viejo (May)  25.22  54.50 
Westmont (April)  25.59  55.15 
Ft. Lauderdale (March)  25.18  54.55 
Knoxville (January)  25.19  54.81 

When thinking about the last several months, one could expect to see several competitive races from the veteran sprinter at World Trials. 

Still Hanging Around  

Cody Miller has competed in just four meets since last summer’s International Team Trials. Miller last represented the United States on the international stage at the Pan American Games in 2019 and participated in the latest season of the International Swimming League.  

However, Miller is not yet ready to hang up the goggles. Residing in Bloomington, IN, Miller is now 31 years old and still training at a high level. The father of two has consistently raced the 100m breaststroke throughout 2023. 

According to a YouTube Vlog from the Indy Spring Cup meet, his goal for the summer is to break one minute in the 100m breaststroke. According to the same YouTube video, Miller raced his first 200 breaststroke in two years during the Indy Spring Cup meet. 

Similar to Manuel, Miller has showcased a consistent presence in his main event, the 100m breaststroke, throughout 2023: 

Meet  100m Breaststroke 
2023 Indy Spring Cup (May)  1:01.04 
TYR Pro Swim Series – Westmont (April)  1:00.04  
TYR Pro Swim Series – Ft. Lauderdale (March)  1:00.12 (Finals) 
TYR Pro Swim Series – Ft. Lauderdale (March)  1:00.43 (Prelims) 

Miller noted in his Vlog that he was satisfied with his performances so far this season, shooting for that sub one minute performance this summer. A key takeaway was that he was racing on zero rest in Indianapolis, different than the Pro Series meets where he had slightly more rest. 

Ultimately, it seems Miller is going to keep competing through the summer of 2024. With Olympic Trials coming to Indianapolis in 2024, the former Indiana Hoosier most likely has his sights set on an impactful performance come next June. 

Back for More?

Blake Pieroni officially retired from the sport last August. Recently, Pieroni made a return to swimming at the 2023 Indy Spring Cup at the IU Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis. 

Pieroni re-joined many familiar faces in Ray Looze’s post-grad group in Bloomington where Pieroni swam for more than half a decade. This was the first-time racing for the 27-year-old since the FINA World Cup in Doha back in the fall of October 2021. 

Pieroni had a busy 2021 including the Olympic Games, ISL Season Three, and all three stops of the FINA Swimming World Cup. After the long hiatus, Pieroni returned to competition in the Hoosier state. 

In his first meet back Pieroni raced both the 50m and 100m freestyles, placing third in both events. Pieroni showed promise in both events, recording times of 22.80 and 49.65, respectively. 

Although we don’t know if Pieroni will compete at U.S. World Championship Trials at the end of June, one would have to assume his goal would be to swim at Olympic Trials in his home state in 2024. A native of Northern Indiana, Pieroni cited enjoying the sport and giving back to the community in regard to his return. It would be a special moment for the multi-time Olympian to officially close out his career at an Olympic Trials that will take place down the road from where he was a multi-time state champion. 

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Dr. Rob Bell
Dr. Rob Bell
8 months ago

Great article!

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