Shaine Casas makes butterfly statement in Knoxville

Shaine Casas
Shaine Casas

Shaine Casas won a 100m butterfly over the rest of the fastest Americans from last year, making an early statement in the Olympic year ahead of June's trials.

Casas clocked 51.40 seconds at a Tyr Pro Swim Series meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday night.

He prevailed by 32 hundredths over Dare Rose, who was the fastest American in the event in 2023. Casas was second-fastest in the country in the 100m fly last year.

Friday's field also included the third- and fourth-fastest Americans from 2023. Thomas Heilman swam 53.36 in the B final. Aiden Hayes was seventh in 52.68.

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Casas, 24, has expanded since placing third and sixth in the backstrokes at the Tokyo Olympic Trials. He was fourth in the 200m individual medley at last July's world championships. His best 100m fly time -- from 2022 -- would have taken bronze at July's worlds.

Casas' time Friday was 54 hundredths faster than his time in a January 2021 meet, another indicator of his improvement as he bids for a first Olympics. The top two at trials in June are in line to make the team.

The only American flyer who has been faster than Casas in this Olympic cycle is Tokyo gold medalist and world record holder Caeleb Dressel.

Dressel, after taking months off from swimming in late 2022 and early 2023, was the fifth-fastest American in the 100m fly last year. He withdrew before the Knoxville meet because his wife, Meghan, is due soon with their first child.

Other winners Friday included headliners Summer McIntosh in the 200m freestyle, Carson Foster in the 400m IM and Gretchen Walsh in the women's 100m fly (edging Olympic gold medalist Maggie Mac Neil of Canada).

The final night of competition in Knoxville on Saturday streams on the USA Swimming Network and website here at 6 ET.