50 Free WR

Dressel’s Start Sucked and He Still Broke the 50 Free WR

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Caeleb Dressel’s 20.16 scm 50 free WR gave him now both short course records in the events (SCY and SCM). Mr. Dressel broke Manaudou’s WR last year and he was able to re-break the record on November 21st 2020 in the ISL bubble.

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

Watch 50 Free WR – 20.16 SCM Caeleb Dressel

50 Free WR Record Analysis

First 25 Meters

First 15 meters

Although winning on the start, this is not Caeleb’s best start. He take 6 dolphin kicks and breaks out at 3.96 seconds. His time from 0-15 m is 5.0 s, which is 0.23 seconds slower than his 0-15 m when he went his unbelievable 17.63.

Visually, it appears his feet were not together upon his entry, likely creating more drag upon entry.

15 Meters – 25 Meters

Into the wall, Caeleb went 4.62 seconds over these 10 meters. This puts him at 1.86 m/s. He took 9 strokes over these 10 meters.

First 25 Meters Analysis

A first 25 time of 9.62 seconds put him in first. However, his subpar start (for him). He had a velocity of 2.38 m/s, which is 0.32 m/s slower than his 50 yards time. Obviously, we know this to be slower, as meters is longer and his velocity decreases over distance.

Second 25 Meters

25 Meters – 40 Meters

Dressel had an excellent turn, using 6 dolphin kicks off the wall to breakout at 3.78 seconds. His time to 15-m was 5.64 seconds, which was 0.06 seconds faster than his SCY record. He took 4 strokes to 15-m, which equals his stroke count in the SCY race.

40 Meters – 50 Meters

Into the finish, Dressel closes in 4.90 seconds and at a velocity of 1.75 m/s. He took 10 strokes into the finish.

Second 25 Meters Analysis

His second 25 time, 10.54 seconds. He covered the length in 14 total strokes, with a distance per stroke into the wall of 1.0 meters/stroke.

50 SCM Free World Record Analysis

Every WR is exceptional. However, many swim fans (I also believe Caeleb) were let down with this race. Theoretically, he can break 20 seconds in the 50 SCM free, by simply having a better start (that he has done before). Clearly, Dressel has the best start in the World, but this was not his best start, it did suck for him.

Replicating his SCY NCAA record start would drop his time by 0.23 and put him at a blistering 19.93!

Theoretical Improvements for Caeleb

Time for some fun, how can Caeleb improve his 50 free World Record Record other than just swimming his best race (ie nailing his start).

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: This is the same point I made in 2018 after his SCY. I personally feel off Caeleb’s turn he could do 1-2 more dolphin kicks and maintain his turn velocity further. It may also reduce the second point.
  2. Vertical Movement at End of Race (Bouncing): For the last 5-meters, he begins to bounce in his stroke. This is likely due to fatigue. If he was able to reduce his stroke count by taking more dolphin kicks off the turn, it may reduce this unnecessary movement.
  3. Turn: He had a slight pause before the flip (the slightest), he wasn’t impaired much on that hesitation, but this could be an avenue for improvement.50 free wr turn
  4. Right Hand Entry: As he mentioned in his 50 free dissect, his right hand is still entering too much in front of his head. It is hard to see this during this video, but there are glimpses of this. This will result in a slight outsweep after entry, which will waste energy and time.

With these slight improvements, I could see Caeleb going 19.75 in a new 50 free WR next year of the ISL.

Comments 6

  1. “his right hand is still entering too much in front of his hand”
    Did u mean arm…how can his hand enter too much in front of his hand anatomically?

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  2. hello I am an Italian coach and a video analyst .. and I had already made and published the dressel record in November ….
    the question is this by observing the action of the left arm / hand you can see that it has a flexion in the traction phase … for you and for caleb. is it an error or a virtue?
    which we can see from the footage of the race and even better in The Speedo Sub20 tests
    sec 2.51-2.53
    thanks Ronny

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  3. It`s so intresting to read an analysis of a swimm competition. Never thought that even with a bad start you could break a World record.

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