Caeleb Dressel falls short of breaking swimming’s 20-second barrier

Caeleb Dressel
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Caeleb Dressel attempted to become the first swimmer to break the 20-second barrier in the 50m free.

He didn’t quite manage.

A video released today by Speedo shows Dressel take two attempts, clocking 20.41 as his fastest time.

“The suit doesn’t make the swimmer. The swimmer makes the suit,” Dressel said after making the attempt.

Dressel, a 13-time world champion, completed the sub-20 challenge in a 50 meter (short course) pool while wearing Speedo’s LZR Racer full-body suit, the now-banned high-tech swimsuit that Michael Phelps and others donned at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Because the suit is now banned from competition, even if Dressel had managed to go sub-20, it would not have been considered a world record.

Ahead of the attempt, Speedo wanted to 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.

Dressel is the reigning world champion in the 50m freestyle and in November, he broke his own short course record in the event (20.16 seconds).

Looking ahead to next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Dressel could make the U.S. Olympic team in as many as seven events.

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