50 Free NCAA Record Caeleb Dressel 17.63 Race Analysis

50 Free NCAA Record Caeleb Dressel 17.63 Race Analysis

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The 50 Free NCAA Record was shattered not once, but three times yesterday by Caeleb Dressel. He first went 18.11 seconds in prelims of the 50-yard freestyle. At night, he led off the 200-yard freestyle relay in a blistering swim of 17.81, for the first swim under 18 seconds. Then, approximately 1 hour later, he lowered his mark further, going 17.63 seconds!

For those who haven’t followed one of our analyses, these analyses are for fun and to spark debate. There are some inherent flaws in this race analysis:

  • Videos are taken from YouTube videos (often with subpar angles)
  • There are analyzed with Kinovea

Let’s break down the new 50 free NCAA record. See the recent Caeleb Dressel fastest 100-yard breast race analysis.

50 Free NCAA Record – 17.63 Caeleb Dressel

50 Free NCAA Record Analysis

First 25 Yards

First 15 Yards

With a 0.63 s reaction time, Dressel gets off the block with the field, but after that, the field disappears. He breaks the water at Campbell doesn’t get off the block well. However, she is able to break the surface of the water at 3.77 seconds and hits the 15-m mark at 4.77 seconds. His velocity to this point is 3.14 m/s. He takes 2 strokes to the 15-m mark.

15 Yards- 25 Yards

Closing the first lap, he finishes in 3.71 seconds at a velocity of 2.32 m/s. He takes 6 strokes on the last leg of this lap.

First 25 Yards Analysis

A first 25 time of 8.48 seconds seems unreal. However, with Dressel’s unbelievable underwater dolphin kicks and stroke rate, at 0.62 seconds/stroke, he was able to set an unprecedented split and lead on the field.

Second 25 Yards

25 Yards- 40 Yards

Off the turn, Dressel utilizes his superb underwater kicks again and breaks the surface at 3.96 seconds. His time to the 15-m mark is 5.70 seconds. He took 4 strokes over this distance and had a velocity of 2.63 m/s.

40 Yards – 50 Yards

Into the finish, Dressel closes in 3.45 seconds and at a velocity of 2.49 m/s. He took 7 strokes into the finish.

Second 25 Yards Analysis

His second 25 time, 9.15 seconds, is what many hope to do in their first 25! He also covered the length in 11 total strokes, with a distance per stroke into the wall of 1.23 meters/stroke.

50 Free NCAA Record Analysis

Compared to 2 years ago, Dressel has made vast improvements (other than going from an 18.67 to a 17.63).

Most notably, he is utilizing his excellent underwaters more. In 2016, he took a total of 24 strokes, compared to 19 strokes in this race. This is most notably seen off the turn, as in 2016 he took 7 strokes to the 15-m mark on the second 25, compared to only 4 in this race.

Compared to the speedy long course meters WR of 20.91 seconds, Caeleb was 0.1 seconds faster to the 15-m mark. This bodes well for a very fast long course opportunity for him, if that wasn’t already obvious.

Theoretical Improvements for Caeleb

Time for some fun, how can Caeleb improve his 50 free NCAA Record?

Well, there isn’t as much to analyze in the 50 free, but there are a few aspects for Caeleb to improve.

  1. More Underwater: Clearly, Dressel’s underwater is superb. He improved over a second in 2 years, mainly by extending his underwater kicks. Off the turn, there is an opportunity for him to go further underwater and breakout at the 15-m mark. This could be a slower strategy for him, as he may lose his velocity from the wall push, but it may provide him an avenue for reducing a few more tenths in the 50 yards race.

That is the only critique I have at this time and I’m not positive it will result in further improvement. What do you all think?

How can Caeleb Dressel go faster in the 50 yard free?

Dr. John Mullen


Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on strength training and rehabilitation. Dr. John has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.

His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. John has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, and much more.

He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. John swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Dr. John was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.

Dr. John was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. John is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.

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