U.S. Open: Caeleb Dressel Picks Up Win in Tight 100 Fly Final (Men’s Recap)
When he swam at U.S. Nationals this summer, Caeleb Dressel never expected to qualify for the World Championships team. Instead, he made the trip to Indianapolis to gauge his fitness and form in his return to the sport after a long hiatus. But now, Dressel is in the midst of a full-on season as he gears up for a run at a third Olympic team. He’s racing at the U.S. Open while in the midst of hard training, but he has yet to be beaten head-to-head in the evening session.
After winning the 50 freestyle B-final Thursday, Dressel came through in the top heat of the 100 butterfly Friday, beating a tough field that included tough Canadians Ilya Kharun and Josh Liendo, while swimming a strong time of 51.33. In other events, veteran Chase Kalisz scored a big win over two-time World Championships silver medalist Carson Foster in the 400 IM while Hungary’s Hubert Kos came out on top in a high-profile showdown in the 100 backstroke.
Men’s 400 IM
When Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz face off in the 400 IM, Foster always has the quicker opening 200 meters, but Kalisz has been the top breaststroker in the medley races since his international breakthrough a decade ago. At the 2021 Olympic Trials, Kalisz had to overcome a big Foster lead in order to secure the win and a spot at the Tokyo Games, but in their races since then, Foster has successfully held Kalisz at bay on breaststroke before surging forward again on freestyle.
Not this time, though. Foster stayed close enough to Kalisz through 200 meters, turning just over one second behind at that point in the race, and Kalisz took over on breaststroke with a 1:09.48 split, putting Foster almost two-and-a-half seconds back and unable to make a real push. Kalisz finished in 4:10.42, very close to the 4:10.42 he swam to finish fourth in the World Championships final earlier this year.
Foster ended up finishing second in 4:13.43. Foster’s best time of 4:06.56 ranks him eighth all-time, with Kalisz sitting fourth at 4:05.90. Jay Litherland, who trains with Kalisz at Arizona State University and won Olympic silver behind Kalisz in 2021, finished hard to take third in 4:14.50.
Men’s 100 Butterfly
For the first time since launching his comeback to swimming after a many-months’ hiatus, Caeleb Dressel has earned a win at a national-level meet. And he pulled off the impressive result in come-from-behind fashion against a tough field of 100 butterflyers. Dressel was in sixth place at the halfway point, with long-ago teammate Santo Condorelli and current Florida teammate Josh Liendo leading the way.
Coming down the stretch, however, it looked like Ilya Kharun, a Canadian teenager now training at Arizona State University, was in position to steal the title, but Dressel’s finishing surge got him to the wall one hundredth ahead in 51.31. While he was almost two seconds off his world record of 49.45, Dressel’s time was much quicker than his 51.66 from U.S. Nationals this summer, where he finished tied for fifth. This time would have placed third behind only Dare Rose and Thomas Heilman at Nationals.
Kharun touched in 51.32, with his fellow Canadian Liendo just a tenth behind in 51.42. Another Arizona State-trained swimmer, Hubert Kos, placed fourth in 51.59, with Condorelli fading to fifth (51.90).
Meanwhile, the fastest time of the evening and a new U.S. Open meet record came out of the B-final, where Shaine Casas was relegated after a lackluster morning swim. Casas was in the same position in the 200 IM Thursday, swimming in the consolation heat before blasting off a huge performance, and in the 100 fly, he clocked 51.03, not far off his season-best time of 50.80 which ranks tied for sixth in the world. His best time of 50.40 makes Casas the fourth-fastest American ever in the event.
Men’s 200 Freestyle
Swimming in lane eight, Rafael Miroslaw was hardly favored in the 200 free final, not with high-profile Americans like Drew Kibler and Kieran Smith in the field. But Miroslaw, a native of Germany who competes for Indiana University, made a gamble by pushing the pace early on, and he could not be caught down the stretch.
Miroslaw flipped at 50.82 at the halfway point, with a 1.21-second edge over second-place Luca Urlando. Miroslaw remained a full second up with 50 meters to go, and he would hold on, even as Kibler charged down the stretch. Miroslaw touched in 1:45.92, with Kibler closing in 26.68 to finish two tenths back in 1:46.12. Kibler, who crushed his 400 free best time in an impressive win Thursday, was less than four tenths behind his season-best time of 1:45.75.
Henry McFadden, a Stanford freshman who made an unexpected appearance at the World Championships this year as a relay swimmer, also came on strong over the second half. He took third in 1:46.80, quicker than the 1:47.02 he clocked in his sixth-place finish at Nationals. Urlando ended up fourth in 1:46.98, with Smith placing fifth (1:47.08).
Men’s 100 Breaststroke
Michael Andrew made his return to sub-1:00 territory after a disappointing summer where he did not even qualify for the 100 breast A-final at U.S. Nationals, but he could not quite hold onto his early lead as Louisville’s Denis Petrashov closed the gap down the stretch. Andrew, the American-record holder in the 100 breast and No. 4 performer in history at 58.14, was out in 27.74 and held his form down the back end, but Petrashov made a surge to finish in 59.46, just ahead of Andrew’s 59.52.
Nic Fink, the 30-year-old veteran who finished in a three-way tie for silver in the 100 breast at the World Championships, finished third in 59.79, just ahead of Indiana’s Josh Matheny, who raced in the World Championships final alongside Fink this year. Matheny clocked 59.79 while Penn’s Matt Fallon, the Worlds bronze medalist in the 200 breast, swam under 1:00 for the first time in his career with a mark of 59.92.
Men’s 100 Backstroke
The showdown between this year’s three backstroke world champions was as exciting as promised, but 200 back Hubert Kos had the most in the tank down the stretch as he pulled away from 100 back gold medalist Ryan Murphy. Kos turned in 25.94, two hundredths behind early leader Jack Aikins, but he came home in 27.25 to open up a half-second lead.
Kos finished in 53.19, mere hundredths behind the 53.11 he swam in this year’s 100 back Worlds final, where he finished seventh. Kos has been a revelation in backstroke since arriving in Tempe, Ariz., to swim at Arizona State University, and he could become a medal threat in both distances at next year’s Paris Olympics.
Murphy faded toward the end of the race while Hunter Armstrong, the 50 back world champion and world-record holder, also had a quick second lap to move ahead of Murphy by two hundredths, 53.72 to 53.74. Aikins touched just behind in 53.85.