Caeleb Dressel Shatters 100 ‘fly World Record In 49.50 – Rome 2009 Phelps Vs Cavic Battle Is History

World Swimming Championships (Caeleb Dressel)


Day 6 (Men’s 100m butterfly semi-finals)

Caeleb Dressel has just shattered the world record with a 49.50 blast in another world at the helm of pace going through top the final of the 100m butterfly. He’d intended it, telling Swimming World: “I woke up today and I wanted to do it, I thought I was ready to do it … I didn’t want any other any thoughts besides going under that 49.82.”

The standard had stood at 49.82 to fellow American Michael Phelps since the battle of the bodysuits with Milorad Cavic in Rome back in 2009, the victor in half shiny, the vanquished in full shiny.

Dressel went out in 22.83, Phelps’ split in 2009 a 23.36. Dressel was back in 26.67.

Stop the clock. Rowdy Gaines was sitting about 30m away down the media bench from Swimming World commentating for NBC. In his racing heyday, Gaines, Olympic 100m champion of 1984, held the world best for 50m for a while in 1980, his 22.96 the first sub-23 – on freestyle…

After speeding to another lane 4 in tomorrow’s showdowns, with a a 21.18 blast over 50m freestyle, Dressel, the dragon king of butterfly speed, said:

“Both those races hurt pretty bad. It doesn’t matter: you just have to go in with your strategy and stick to it. There is a lot that I need to clean up going into tomorrow: these times mean nothing. I’m here to swim fast for Team USA and we had a really good tonight. Especially with Regan: that was phenomenal, I thought was one of the top three toughest world records on the women’s side and she just crushed it so congrats to her. We are having a good night so I am happy to contribute to that. There is nothing magic there: just good old race strategy.”

The airwaves crackling with superlatives for and descriptions of coach Gregg Troy’s charge as everything form aquatic God to the heir to a realm of greatest, Spitz to Phelps, Dressel would have none of it, what with all that scary stuff out there in the outer orbits of achievement: “I don’t want to hype myself up in any way, shape or form. It can be a scary thought to do something that has never been done before. Two years ago I was a little scared … ”

Times change and Dressel has grown in confidence and boldness of mind. He said:

“I didn’t expect to go that fast. Consciously having that on your mind, wanting to go there. I woke up today and I wanted to do it, I thought I was ready to do it. I slept fine last night, I didn’t really have the nerves, I just wanted to do it. And that is all there is to it at the end of the day: just doing it. I didn’t want any other any thoughts besides going under that 49.82.”

“So to get it done – I’m proud of myself, I’m glad my family is here to watch it. It feels good. Just the standard that Michael set for people to go after it. You know records are meant to be broke. I hope he was happy watching me today. I’ve been on a team with him, the way he carries himself, so I’m happy.”

Dressel is now the second man to take down a Phelps ‘fly record in Gwangju. Kristof Milak clocked 1:50.73 in the 200m on Wednesday.

We will never know what Phelps and Cavic might have clocked that boiling summer in the Eternal City had they been racing beyond their bodysuits and degrees of shiny.


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

What we do know is that Dressel now has seven of the best 100m swims ever in textile, including the swiftest 6:

  • 49.00 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2019
  • 49.86 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2017
  • 50.07 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2017
  • 50.08 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2017
  • 50.28 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2019
  • 50.36 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2019
  • 50.39 Schooling, Joseph, SIN LCM2016
  • 50.40 Crocker, Ian, USA LCM2005
  • 50.45 Phelps, Michael, USA LCM2015
  • 50.50 Dressel, Caeleb, USA LCM2018


Michael Phelps, Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

All suits, all-time now looks like this:

  • 49.82 Phelps 2009 (World title, Rome)
  • 49.86 Dressel 2017 (World title, Budapest)
  • 49.95 Cavic 2009
  • 50.39 Schooling 2016 (Olympic title, Rio)
  • 50.40 Crocker

Finalists for the 100m, Gwangju 2019:

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.50 WR
  2. Andrei Minakov (RUS), 50.94
  3. Kristof Milak (HUN), 50.95
  4. Chad Le Clos (RSA), 51.40
  5. Marius Kusch (GER), 51.50
  6. Mehdy Metella (FRA), 51.62
  7. James Guy (GBR), 51.69
  8. Matthew Temple (AUS), 51.70

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x