M100 Butterfly – Caeleb Dressel Chased To 49.45 World Record By 49.68 Euro Mark As Krístof Mílak Makes It Two In Sub-50 Textile Club

2021-07-31 Reading Time: 3 minutes
(L-R) Noe Ponti of Switzerland and Caeleb Dressel of the United States of America on the way to Olympic destiny - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Caeleb Dressel claimed his third gold medal of the week in a World record 49.45, a blistering pace that might have meant domination but this day did not, Krístof Mílak shattering the European mark with a 49.68 blast that doubled the membership of the sub-50 textile club.

The bronze went to Noe Point, who in 50.74 became only the third Swiss man to makes the medals in Olympic waters just 24 hours after Jeremy Desplanches, in the 200m, medley, became the second man from his country to make the Games podium. The pioneer was Étienne Dagon, with bronze in the 200m breaststroke at Los Angeles 1984.

Milak fell just 0.23sec shy of the butterfly double he will now hunt down all the way to Paris 2024, by which time he intends to be a 200m freestyle force, too.

Result in Full

Caeleb Dressel – Gold No 3 – by Patrick B. Kraemer

It’s 12 years since Michael Phelps beat Milorad Cavic for the World shiny suits crown at Rome 2009 a year after a 0.01sec same-order finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Phelps wanted the shiny suits sunk. Eleven years after they were, there are two men faster than those body-suit bombs.

Dressel bristled as he made his way to his blocks, flicking his arms, talking himself into what it would take to keep Milak at bay. Just as Phelps had known how far he could let Cavic get ahead of him at half-way in order to have a chance of getting his fingertips to the wall first by the close of battle, so, too, did Milak know that he could not let Dressel open up too big a gap down the first length.

The lead his off the blocks, dive, streamline, break, motoring, Dressel turned in 23.00. Milak was 0.65 away in second. Game on. As it was with Phelps, it would take until the last 15m to feel ‘he might do it’; 10m to feel ‘seriously possible’. Milak rose higher in the water, surged over the wave, rolled towards Dressel hungry-orca like. Dressel dug deep and the two lunged for the wall. The momentum, the timing, the reach, the balance of pace there and back favoured Dressel and gold No 3 was in the vault.

Coming into the Games, Dressel had nine I the best 10 100m butterfly times in history, between the 49.50 World record he set for the global crown in 2019 and the 50.17 he clocked at U.S. Olympic trials for Tokyo. No10, 50.18, clocked by Kristóf Milak, the Hungarian who claimed the 200m crown here in Tokyo, for the European title last home in Budapest in May this year.

Kristof Milak of Hungary – by Patrick B. Kraemer

In semi-finals yesterday, Dressel axed the 50.39 Olympic record he set in heats back to 49.71 to claim ownership of the swiftest 10 times in history.

Coached by Gregg Troy, Dressel has three more golden targets, the 4x100m mixed medley at the end of this session and then two more on the final day off racing in the pool at the Tokyo Games, over 50m freestyle and the curtain-closing men’s 4x100m medley.

Dressel – Next Target…

Within the hour, Dressel had collected his medal and returned to the blocks for the 50m freestyle semis: the dive did it, again. He was going from the rest and rolling. Dressel gets caught at the end of his races but not completely and that by a solid margin. In 21.42, he booked his next ticket twi lane 4 ahead of Kristian Gkolomeev, of Greece, on 21.60 and a 21.67 snap for Britain’s Ben Proud and Amewrican Michael Andrew. The first line up went to the 2012 Olympic champion and 2016 silver medallist, Proud’s Energy training partner Florent Manaudou, of France, in 21.53, ahead of Bruno Fratus, of Brazil, on 21.60. The line-up for the 50m final was completed by Italy’s Lorenzo Zazzeri in 21.75 and Dutchman Them de Boer, on 21.78. That locked out Russian Kliment Kolesnikov an d Canadian Brent Hayden.

Victories for Dressel and Katie Ledecky in the 800m freestyle gave the United States a lead over Australia on gold count, 8 to 7 (after the women’s 200m backstroke that produced gold and bronze for Australia, courtesy of Kaylee McKeown and Emily Seebohm), with more battles to come. The domination Americans have become familiar with in the Olympic pool has eluded them here in Tokyo. They will return home still No1 but in a world that believes more now than ever that no-one is unbeatable.

More on other finals later

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