Olympics-Dressel wins 50 metres free splash and dash to set up Paris title defence

By Thomson Reuters Jun 21, 2024 | 8:35 PM

(Reuters) – Seven-time Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel earned a shot a defending is 50 metres freestyle title in Paris after powering home first in the event known as the splash and dash at the U.S. Olympic trials in Indianapolis on Friday.

Dressel, who missed out on the chance to defend his 100 metres free crown after a disappointing third-place finish, would not be denied in the 50, getting to the wall first in 21.41 seconds to the roaring approval of another large crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts.

Chris Guiliano, winner of the 100 free, will also race the 50 in Paris, snatching second from Matt King by 0.001 seconds.

Regan Smith added to her Paris workload capturing a third individual event the 200 backstroke in dominating fashion, demolishing a field that included swimmers who had recorded six of top 10 times this year.

Smith, who blitzed to the 100 backstroke world record on Tuesday and then won the 200 butterfly on Thursday, made it three wins, getting home first unchallenged in a time of two minutes, 5.16 seconds, more than a second clear of second-place finisher Phoebe Bacon.

“It’s night and day difference between 2021 (Tokyo Olympics) and now,” said Smith, who won three medals in Tokyo but none of them gold. “I ran out of gas a bit at the end of that last race but it’s been a great week for me.”

In the last final of evening, Carson Foster, winner of the 400 IM, completed the individual medley double chasing down Shaine Casas over the final freestyle leg of the 200 IM to claim top spot in 1:55.65.

Casas was denied victory by 0.18 seconds, but the second place was enough to him a ticket to Paris and his first Olympics.

“This means everything,” said Casas, fighting to control his emotions. “Since I was a kid this was all I dreamed about, now I don’t have to pretend and dream about being an Olympian.

“I am an Olympian.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by William Mallard)