Olympics: US star Caeleb Dressel sets world record of 49.45sec in 100m fly final

Caeleb Dressel of the United States celebrating after setting a world record on July 31, 2021.
Caeleb Dressel of the United States celebrating after setting a world record on July 31, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS
Dressel in action during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Dressel in action during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.PHOTO: REUTERS
Dressel had owned the previous mark of 49.50sec set at the 2019 world championships.
Dressel had owned the previous mark of 49.50sec set at the 2019 world championships.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS, AFP) - American swim star Caeleb Dressel clocked his first world record at the Olympics on Saturday (July 31), romping to the gold in the 100m butterfly in 49.45 seconds.

He had also owned the previous mark of 49.50sec set at the 2019 world championships. 

Hungarian 200m fly champion Kristof Milak was second in 49.68sec and Noe Ponti of Switzerland third in 50.74sec.

The powerful American, who also won gold in the 100m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay, was fastest out of the blocks and never looked in danger, though Milak came back hard to close the gap down the straight.

It took a world record to win the Olympic final. And I don’t think it happens that often in the Olympics,” said Dressel, who paid tribute to his rival.

“My plan was go out quick, and then hold on. I didn’t even die. He just came home really well,” added the American.

Milak said he gave it everything.

“This is a fair result,” he added.

“That was the maximum I could give. I am happy that Caeleb needed a world record to beat me.”

Dressel's compatriot Katie Ledecky stormed to her third straight Olympic 800m freestyle title Saturday with a dominant swim to bank her fourth Tokyo medal.

Ledecky touched in 8min 12.57sec to outpace Australian arch-rival Ariarne Titmus, who clocked a personal best 8:13.83sec to take silver ahead of Italy’s Simona Quadarella (8:18.35sec).

Ledecky has been the dominant force in the 800m free and she took control from the outset, increasing her lead over Titmus from the 500m mark.

“She made it tough and so it was a lot of fun to race,” said Ledecky.

“I just trusted myself, trusted I could pull it out and swim whatever way I needed to.”

The American now has six individual career Olympic gold medals, taking her past the record of Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi who had five.

But Australia had plenty to celebrate as their sensational run continued with Kaylee McKeown winning the 200m backstroke for their seventh gold in the pool.

McKeown turned up the pace on the final lap to power past Kylie Masse after the Canadian held the lead for the first 150.

The Australian won in a time of 2:04.68sec with Masse 0.74 behind and McKeown’s team mate Emily Seebohm taking the bronze medal.

Australia’s women have now picked up six of the country’s seven gold medals in the pool.