By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Thursday, July 27, 2017
BUDAPEST – Caeleb Dressel has emerged as one of the hottest swimmers to watch this week at the 17th FINA World Championships.
On Thursday, Dressel and teammate Nathan Adrian took 1-2 in the finals of the men’s 100m freestyle, with Dressel breaking the American record in 47.17 and Adrian touching seven-tenths behind in 47.87.
It was Dressel’s third gold of the meet after swimming on the Americans’ 400m free relay on the first night of competition, and on the mixed 400m medley on Wednesday.
It was also his fourth American record this week, his second in the 100m free. He set the first mark in the 100m free at 47.26 leading off the men’s 400m free relay. He also set the American record in the semifinals of the 50m butterfly, and he was a part of the American- and world record-setting mixed 400m medley relay.
Not bad for a 20-year-old guy competing in his second major international competition. Last year at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Dressel won gold in the men’s 400m free relay and finished sixth in the 100m free.
“Right now, it’s all smiles,” Dressel said. “I’ll let it sink in a little bit. I’m excited. Man, if felt good to go 1-2 tonight with Nathan. There’s nothing like that. Americans on top.”
Tonight’s race was the first time an American won the 100m free at a World Championships since Anthony Ervin did it in 2001.
“I just want to do my best each time I go into the water with the flag on my cap,” he said. “I didn’t know that (about Ervin). That’s a pretty cool stat, and to go 1-2 is even better.”
Dressel still has a number of events to swim before the end of the meet, including the 50m free, 100m fly and 400m medley relay. The mixed 400m free relay on Saturday is also a possibility.
As for Adrian, his silver was his 11th career World Championship medal, tying him for fourth all time among American men with the legendary Matt Biondi. Only three other American men – Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol – have posted a double-digit medal tally in World Championships action.
Like Dressel, he has a few more events to swim this week in Budapest, including the 50 free and likely the 400m medley relay. It’s also a possibility that he will swim the mixed 400m free relay.
Men’s 200m IM
Dressel’s gold was the second individual gold of the meet for the U.S. men.
After four days of competition, Chase Kalisz broke that drought, kicking off finals with a win in the 200m IM in 1:55.56.
The U.S. has now won that event in eight straight World Championships. The streak extends back to 2003 with Michael Phelps winning three straight world titles, and then Ryan Lochte winning four straight world titles starting in 2009.
At last year’s Olympic Games, Kalisz won silver in the 400m IM, ending the Americans’ winning streak in that event, which went all the way back to the 1996 Games. Kalisz said he wanted to make up for that tonight.
“Last summer was a disappointment for me where I wasn’t able to continue the 400 IM tradition, and that was something that bothered me for a few months,” Kalisz said. “I’m very aware of what those two have done, and they’re the centerpiece of IM in our sport – both of them.
“No one’s going to replace those two, but to be able to continue, and represent the U.S., and be on top of the podium in that event, that’s cool to me because those two are my idols.”
A veteran of three World Championships and one Olympics, Kalisz has won medals in the 400m IM at each of those meets (this week pending, of course). But he’s never swum the 200m IM on the international stage – nor has he ever struck gold in any of those meets – until tonight.
“It’s a lot more fun than the 400 IM,” Kalisz said. “I felt a lot better climbing out of the water rather than crawling out.
“I think I went through the stages of prelims and semis pretty well. This my first time ever doing it on this level, so I’ve been lucky to be around Michael (Phelps) my whole life and see how he handled it, and I did my best job with keeping my composure and kind of imitating how he’s always done it, and I think that was a big bonus for me, and helped me get to where I was tonight.”
Women’s 800m Free
Leah Smith, Mallory Comerford, Melanie Margalis and Katie Ledecky teamed up to win gold in the women’s 800m freestyle in 7:43.39, followed by China in 7:44.96 and Australia in 7:48.51. The American women have won gold in seven of the last eight World Championships in this event.
“I think if you are competing for the USA, you’re cognizant of all the traditions we have, which is just being really great in the pool,” Smith said. “One thing I said to the relay before we swam was, ‘We are the USA, and we are going to be great.’ I think that just comes from the training that we’ve done in the last couple weeks, and just being confident in each other. We all knew it was going to be special.”
“We’ve talked about winning, but it’s just awesome to have these girls (on your side), knowing they’re going to fight for you, and diving in the water knowing they’re going to fight the same as you are,” Comerford said.
Except for Margalis, each of the women swimming in tonight’s finals of the 800m free relay have won multiple medals this week. Ledecky has four golds (400m free, 1500m free, 400m free relay, 800m free relay) and a silver (200m free). Comerford also won gold in the 400m free relay and the mixed 400m medley relay, and Smith has a silver in the 400m free.
“I couldn’t believe I got to swim on the finals relay this summer,” said Margalis, who swam in the prelims of this event in Rio. “I was saying if someone had told me that I was going to be representing the U.S. on the 800 free relay at Worlds, I wouldn’t have believed them.
“Even getting behind the blocks with the USA flag on your cap is such an honor. You just feel ready to go when you have that cap on. Getting to hear the national anthem on the podium was incredible.”
Women’s 50m Back
Kathleen Baker, the Americans’ lone representative in the 50m back, finished fifth in 27.50.
The top 8 swimmers from each of tonight’s semifinals will advance to tomorrow night’s finals. Here’s a look at how the American swimmers fared:
Simone Manuel, 2nd, women’s 100m free, 52.69; Mallory Comerford, 3rd, women’s 100m free, 52.85; Kevin Cordes, 5th, men’s 200m breaststroke, 2:08.40; Nic Fink, 8th, men’s 200m breaststroke, 2:08.80; Bethany Galat, 2nd, women’s 200m breaststroke, 2:21.86; Lilly King, 8th, women’s 200m breaststroke, 2:23.81; Ryan Murphy, 2nd, men’s 200m backstroke, 1:54.93; Jacob Pebley, 5th, men’s 200m backstroke, 1:55.20.
For more expert analysis and insight from the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, catch Deck Pass Live, right here on usaswimming.org. The show begins approximately one hour after finals. Also, follow our coverage from Hungary on Facebook and Twitter. #DeckPassLive.