SWIMMING: Dressel finishes sensational U.S. Swimming Trials with third win and a possible seven medals in Tokyo; Manuel scores 50 m Free win

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel (USA)

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The final day of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha was all about Caeleb Dressel just 21.04 seconds into the race.

That’s how long it took for Dressel to win the men’s 50 m Freestyle, with the fastest time in the world this year and tying his own American Record swim from the 2017 World Championships. He equals the fourth-fastest performance in history.

He was chased home by Michael Andrew, who finished in 21.48 and remains the fourth-fastest swimmer at this distance in the world in 2021, and just 0.02 off his all-time best. Andrew is now headed to his first Olympic Games, in three events.

American sprint icon Nathan Adrian finished third in 21.73, ahead of Bowe Becker (21.78); Adrian equaled his season’s best, but won’t make it to Tokyo.

Dressel won the 50 m Free, 100 m Free and 100 m Fly, with world-leading marks in the 50 Free and 100 Fly, and will be a favorite in all three at the Games. In addition, he is positioned for medals in the men’s 4×100 m Freestyle, 4×200 m Freestyle and 4×100 m Medley and perhaps also the Mixed 4×100 m Medley. That’s a possible seven medals, but the U.S. will not be favored in all of the relays.

The women’s 50 m Free final was another emotional high as Rio 50 m Free silver medalist Simone Manuel touched first in 24.29 to make the Tokyo team, a seasonal best by a big 0.21 and now no. 11 in the world for 2021. She just out-touched 100 m Free winner Abbey Weitzeil by 0.01 (24.30), with Torri Huske third (24.46) and Linnea Mack fourth (24.49).

The men’s 1,500 m ended the program with the 800 m Free winner Bobby Finke swimming away to a huge win in 14:46.06, a lifetime best and no. 4 on the 2021 world list. Michael Brinegar, the 800 m runner-up, took over second place halfway through and finished a clear second in 15:00.87. Jordan Wilimovsky, already on the open-water team, was third in 15:05.29.

The U.S. Trials ended with outstanding results, including eight world-leading marks by six swimmers:

Men/200 m Medley: 1:55.26, Michael Andrew
Men/100 m Fly: 50.17, Caeleb Dressel
Men/50 m Free: 21.29, Caeleb Dressel in semis
Men/50 m Free: 21.04, Caeleb Dressel

Women/400 m Medley: 4:33.81, Emma Weyant
Women/100 m Fly: 55.66, Torri Huske (American Record)
Women/100 m Breast: 1:04.72, Lilly King (in semifinals)
Women/1,500 m Free: 15:40.50, Katie Ledecky

There were also four American Records and a tie:

Men/50 m Free: 21.04 (=), Caeleb Dressel
Men/100 m Breast: 58.19, Michael Andrew, in heats (old, 58.64, Kevin Cordes 2017)
Men/100 m Breast: 58.14, Andrew, in semis

Women/100 m Fly: 55.78, Torri Huske, in semis (old, 55.98, Dana Vollmer 2012)
Women/100 m Fly: 55.66, Huske

The U.S. dominated the pool in Rio with 33 medals and 16 golds, but it will not be easy in Tokyo with outstanding competition from Australia, Canada and Europe. But Dressel and Katie Ledecky are going to be two of the brightest American stars in the first week of the Games.

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