Swimming: Caeleb Dressel smashes Michael Phelps's 100m butterfly world record

American Caeleb Dressel was 0.32 quicker than American legend Phelps went at the 2009 world championships in Rome.
American Caeleb Dressel was 0.32 quicker than American legend Phelps went at the 2009 world championships in Rome.PHOTO: REUTERS

GWANGJU (AFP) - American Caeleb Dressel broke the world record in the men's 100 metres butterfly on Friday (July 26) at the Swimming World Championships, obliterating Michael Phelps's old mark with a jaw-dropping semi-final swim.

The defending champion turned over half a second inside world record pace before driving home to clock 49.50 seconds in Gwangju, 0.32 quicker than American legend Phelps went at the 2009 world championships in Rome.

Dressel, who swept seven gold medals at the 2017 world championships, looks on course to match or even surpass that in South Korea this week.

The 22-year-old has captured three already and appears untouchable in the 100m fly.

Dressel exploded from the blocks in the second semi-final on Friday and was quickly half a body length clear of Russian Andreo Minakov.

The tattooed pin-up accelerated away after the turn to beat the Russian by almost two seconds, celebrating by raising a clenched fist in the direction of flag-waving American fans.

Phelps has now had both of his long course butterfly world record wiped out this week after Hungary's Kristof Milak destroyed his 2009 mark in the 200m fly.

Meanwhile, fellow American Simone Manuel destroyed a quality field to retain her 100 metres freestyle world title.

The Olympic champion clocked 52.04 seconds with Australian Cate Campbell pipping Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom to the silver medal.

Manuel burst from the blocks in lane one to turn just inside world record pace and comfortably hung to become the second female swimmer to win multiple world titles in the women's 100m free after Kornelia Ender of East Germany in 1973 and 1975.

"I felt a little bit of pressure coming into the race," said Manuel, who tied Canada's Penny Oleksiak for gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. "It feels amazing to win."

Former champion Campbell came into the final as the form swimmer but allowed Manuel to open too much of a lead on the first 50m and left herself with too much to do.

Sjostrom remains the only world record holder in the women's 100m free not to have captured a world title in the event.