Caeleb Dressel took the 100m butterfly at the Toyota U.S. Open for his first victory in 17 months and since his return to the sport from a months-long break last year.
Dressel, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist, won the 100m fly in 51.31 seconds in Greensboro, North Carolina. His previous best time in his return this year was 51.66 from the summer national championships, where he tied for fifth.
Dressel, who owns the world record of 49.45 from the Tokyo Olympics, beat a field that included world silver medalist Josh Liendo of Canada, a training partner at the University of Florida. Though Shaine Casas won the B final with a faster time — 51.03.
Before Friday, Dressel's last race win was his 50m fly title at the June 2022 World Championships.
U.S. OPEN: Full Results
He then withdrew during those worlds on unspecified medical grounds, took at least two months off from swimming (except to do so with manatees), returned to training in Gainesville in the winter and worked his way up to a full practice load in May.
“The easiest way to put it: my body kept score,” he said on July 1, explaining why he took a break. “There’s a lot of things I shoved down and all came boiling up, so I didn’t really have a choice. I used to pride myself on being able to shove things down and push it aside and plow through it. It worked for a very long time in my career ... until I couldn’t do that anymore.”
On Thursday, Dressel tied for the fourth fastest time overall in the 50m freestyle, winning the B final in 21.99. Going into the U.S. Open, Dressel's best time in 2023 in that event was 22.57.
Dressel is entered in the 100m free on the last day of the U.S. Open on Saturday. Finals are at 6 p.m. ET on USASwimming.org and the USA Swimming Network.
Also Friday, Olympic gold medalist Chase Kalisz won the 400m individual medley in 4:10.42. Kalisz, 29, distanced Carson Foster (by 3.01) and Jay Litherland (by 4.08), the rest of the top three from the Tokyo Olympic Trials. Foster, the world silver medalist the last two years, remains the fastest American this year at 4:06.56.
In the women's 400m IM, world champion and world record holder Summer McIntosh of Canada prevailed by 7.94 seconds in 4:29.96. The 17-year-old McIntosh's world record from April is 4:25.87.
American record holder Torri Huske took the women's 100m fly in 56.21, distancing Olympic teammate Claire Curzan by 55 hundredths. Huske ranks second in the world in 2023 by best time (56.18), trailing only world champion Zhang Yufei of China (55.86).