By Rory Carroll (Reuters) – Caleb Dressel delivered the fastest time in the world so far this year in the men’s 50m free with a blistering 21.29 second romp at the United States swim trials in Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday. Dressel was in top form yet again after besting the field in the 50 […]
Swimming-Dressel and Ledecky shine at U.S. trials
By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – Caleb Dressel delivered the fastest time in the world so far this year in the men’s 50m free with a blistering 21.29 second romp at the United States swim trials in Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday.
Dressel was in top form yet again after besting the field in the 50 and 100 metres butterfly and 100 metres freestyle earlier in the competition.
“I thought I could be 21.40 tonight so to see 21.29, I’m pretty fired up,” he said.
The 25-year-old will lead a relatively inexperienced U.S. men’s team at next month’s World Championships in Budapest and said he was still adjusting to his role as one of the squad’s elder statesman.
“I’m one of the old guys on the team now, which is really weird,” he said.
“I still feel young, I still feel good.”
The Olympic veteran Dressel, who added six golds to his coffers in Tokyo, took time off earlier in the year to regain his focus and appeared elated with his form as he enthusiastically slapped the water after the win.
Katie Ledecky added the women’s 400m free to her program for Budapest after the seven-time gold medalist cruised to the win in 3:59.52, beating out Leah Smith, who finished second in 4:03.15.
“It’s good to see her swimming as good as she is,” Ledecky said of Leah Smith, who has the potential to swim in several individual events at worlds.
“She’s been a great teammate over the years on Team USA with me. I’m excited to be in the ready room with her a lot this summer.”
Ledecky bested her gold medal effort in Tokyo by more than three seconds to win the 800 metres free the opening night of the competition.
She won the women’s 400 and 200 metres freestyle final, as well.
Regan Smith punched her ticket to Budapest by breaking her own record with a 57.76 second first place finish in the 100m back.
“I’m really happy with that time, it’s a great time for me. I’m really happy to end on a good note,” said Smith, who finished second in the 200m fly and 50m back earlier in the meet.
“If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that USA women’s backstroke is not something to be messed with and I’m just really proud of everyone.”
Hunter Armstrong added the 100m back to his schedule for worlds with a 52.20 seconds finish.
The night before, the 21-year-old claimed a world record in the men’s 50m back with a time of 23.71, trimming 0.09 seconds off of Russian Kliment Kolesnikov’s previous mark.
“I’m extremely confident moving into Budapest,” Armstrong said.
The world championships will run from June 18 to July 3 in Budapest.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Amy Tennery in New York)