Caeleb Dressel eyes 20-second barrier in controversial swimsuit

Caeleb Dressel
Getty Images

Caeleb Dressel could become the first swimmer to break 20 seconds in the 50m freestyle (short course) in a special event next week, wearing a now-banned high-tech swimsuit.

Dressel will wear Speedo’s LZR Racer full-body suit, which Michael Phelps and other swimmers donned en route to world records more than a decade ago, namely at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The polyurethane suit — and others like it — were banned from Jan. 1, 2010, with men now limited to waist-to-knee “jammer” suits.

Olympic pools are 50 meters long. Dressel’s bid will come in a short-course, 25-meter pool. It will take place on Wednesday in a solo race. Video will be shared by Speedo on Thursday.

Last month, Dressel lowered his short-course 50m free world record to 20.16 seconds at the International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest. The 50m free world record in an Olympic-size pool is 20.91 seconds, set by Brazilian Cesar Cielo in 2009, wearing one of those now-banned, full-body suits.

“I’m not sure what to expect time-wise, but I am confident I can put together a well-executed race, and we’ll see what happens,” the 24-year-old Dressel said in a press release. “I was too young to experience the hype of the LZR Racer, but I feel I am part of it now.”

Speedo came up with the idea to “find out how fast a man can go in water without any restrictions” and to mark 20 years of the company’s Fastskin suit series, a spokesperson said.

“I’m honored that they picked me for this event,” said Dressel, who won 13 world titles between 2017 and 2019 and could make the U.S. Olympic team in up to seven events between individual races and relays. “It’s pretty cool taking a little piece of history regarding that Speedo LZR suit and how iconic it was and bringing it back to modern day.”

Dressel has never been timed in a full-body suit, but he’s the obvious candidate given his short-course world record and that he’s the reigning world champion in the 50m free in an Olympic-sized pool (in 21.04 seconds; the only two men who have gone faster did so in now-banned suits).

He did race butterfly in a full-body suit in practice earlier this year.

“It felt like a super suit,” Dressel said, noting it reminded him of watching all three Iron Man films while in ISL’s Budapest bubble last month. “Every time I put the suit on, it kind of [felt] like Iron Man putting his iron on.”

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U.S. men’s gymnastics team named for world championships

Asher Hong
Allison and John Cheng/USA Gymnastics

Asher Hong, Colt Walker and world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik were named to the last three spots on the U.S. men’s gymnastics team for the world championships that start in three weeks.

Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg earned the first spots on the team by placing first and second in the all-around at August’s U.S. Championships.

Hong, Walker and Nedoroscik were chosen by a committee after two days of selection camp competition in Colorado Springs this week. Malone and Whittenburg did not compete at the camp.

Hong, 18, will become the youngest U.S. man to compete at worlds since Danell Leyva in 2009. He nearly earned a spot on the team at the U.S. Championships, but erred on his 12th and final routine of that meet to drop from second to third in the all-around. At this week’s camp, Hong had the lowest all-around total of the four men competing on all six apparatuses, but selectors still chose him over Tokyo Olympians Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus.

Walker, a Stanford junior, will make his world championships debut. He would have placed second at nationals in August if a bonus system for attempting difficult skills wasn’t in place. With that bonus system not in place at the selection camp, he had the highest all-around total. The bonus system is not used at international meets such as world championships.

Nedoroscik rebounded from missing the Tokyo Olympic team to become the first American to win a world title on pommel horse last fall. Though he is the lone active U.S. male gymnast with a global gold medal, he was in danger of missing this five-man team because of struggles on the horse at the U.S. Championships. Nedoroscik, who does not compete on the other five apparatuses, put up his best horse routine of the season on the last day of the selection camp Wednesday.

Moldauer, who tweeted that he was sick all last week, was named the traveling alternate for worlds in Liverpool, Great Britain. It would be the first time that Moldauer, who was fourth in the all-around at last fall’s worlds, does not compete at worlds since 2015.

Though the U.S. has not made the team podium at an Olympics or worlds since 2014, it is boosted this year by the absence of Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned indefinitely due to the war in Ukraine. In recent years, the U.S. has been among the nations in the second tier behind China, Japan and Russia, including in Tokyo, where the Americans were fifth.

The U.S. women’s world team of five will be announced after a selection camp in two weeks. Tokyo Olympians Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles are in contention.

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Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024

The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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