Caeleb Dressel waves to the crowd after competing in the 100-meter freestyle final Wednesday, June 19, 2024, during the fifth day of competition for the U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Gator Great Caeleb Dressel Swims Way To Third Summer Olympic Games

Former Florida standout swimmer Caeleb Dressel qualified for his third consecutive Olympic Games. The seven-time Olympic gold medalist secured his spot on the 4x100m Freestyle Relay team Wednesday.

Dressel qualified on day five of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium, in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were 22,209 people in attendance at the swim-meet.

How It Happened

Dressel awaited his turn in lane three, to compete in the most highly anticipated race of the day.

His race had six swimmers that went under 48 seconds, and still Dressel pulled through and reached the 15-meter mark first. Dressel made it to the wall just five one-hundredths of a second from Chris Guiliano’s 47.38 first-place finish. The former Gator ended up placing third, with a time of 47.53, securing his spot on the 4x100m free relay team.

Other Gators

Macguire McDuff, Mason Laur and Caleb Maldari also joined Dressel yesterday’s night session. For the women’s, fellow Gators Zoe Dixon, Amadeusz Knop, Lainy Kruger and Bella Sims raced in the morning prelims. Incoming Florida swimmers, Julia Heimstead and Addison Reese also raced in some of the morning prelim events.

Florida’s Mason Laur set and reset his lifetime-best in his prelim and semifinal races. On Tuesday morning, he swam a personal best of 1:55.09 time from Tuesday morning marked a new personal best; however, competing only a few hours later in the semifinals, he broke his own record again, clocking a 1:55.05 time. Laur ended up finishing third with his new personal-best time, 1:55.37.

Caleb Maldari swam in the first heat of the Men’s 200m Back semifinals. Maldari entered the water in second, but moved down into sixth place, until he pushed through in the last 50 meters. With his 30.22 split, he moved into third and barely grabbed the eighth-seed spot in today’s Finals after recording 1:57.99.

For the Women

Florida’s Sophomore Bella Sims and Junior Zoe Dixon raced side-by-side, and stroke-for-stroke in the final 100 meters. Sims started off strong, recording a 1:01.57 in her opening 100m, while Dixon was behind her at 1:02.83. However, Sims ended up falling short in her final stretch, and was passed by her teammate, touching in at 2:11.93 to place 18th overall as the second-reserve spot. Sims clocked in behind her at 2:12.41 for 22nd place.

Julia Heimstead, an Arizona transfer coming to Gainesville in the fall for the 2024-2025 season, swam a 2:13.43 in the third heat. Another Gator coming in the fall is Addison Reese. Reese is an incoming freshman and competed in heat two. She clocked a 2:14.86 to earn 39th overall.

Another notable mention is Katie Ledecky, a volunteer swim coach for the Florida Gators, dominated the 1500m, earning her spot in the Paris 2024. Her clocked time on Wednesday was the 16th-fastest time in history for the 1,500.

Ledecky, is a 10-time Olympic Medalist and 15-time World Championship gold medalist, has broken 14 world records and 37 American records during her career. At this year’s qualifiers, she recorded 15:37.35 in her 1,500-meter freestyle swim, outswimming her competition. Second place finisher, Katie Grimes finished with a time of 15:57.77, which is over 20 seconds after Ledecky.

Ledecky qualified and won the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle events early on in the trials, but she is expected to give up her spot in the 200 and be a relay competitor.

Up Next

Day six of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials takes place today, June 20th, inside Lucas Oil Stadium. There are still spots that still need to be solidified: three roster spots for the women’s 200m fly, 200m breast and the men’s 200m back. Today, the women will compete for a Semifinal spot in 200m back, while the men look to advance in the 50m free and 200m IM.

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