BUDAPEST, Hungary — Caeleb Dressel put the United States back on top in swimming’s glamour event.
Call it a changing of the guard for the American men.
Dressel, 20, emerged as his country’s newest sprinting star with a victory in the 100-meter freestyle, holding off longtime U.S. stalwart Nathan Adrian at the world championships Thursday.
Dressel got off to a blistering start and won in a relative rout in the down-and-back race, touching in 47.17 seconds. Adrian surged from behind over the final strokes to claim the silver in 47.87, edging France’s Mehdy Metella — the fastest qualifier from the semifinals and swimming between the two Americans — by just two-hundredths of a second.
Dressel climbed up on a lane rope and pounded the water with both fists.
Adrian glided quickly from two lanes over to embrace the new world champion.
“I’m very excited about that,” Dressel said. “But more importantly, Americans went 1-2. I think that’s more exciting than any time that could be shown on that board.”
It was the biggest U.S. triumph in the 100 free since Adrian won gold at the 2012 London Olympics.
Kalisz, meanwhile, extended American rule of the 200-meter individual medley, rallying to claim his first major international championship. The Americans have won the event at eight straight world championships, not to mention at the last four Olympics — with Phelps or Lochte winning every time.
“The U.S. has always been dominant in IMs, and that’s been one of our proudest traditions,” Kalisz said. “Michael and Ryan have been the centerpiece of that for almost 15 years now.”
But Kalisz is still miffed about a silver medal in the 400 IM at Rio, a setback that ended America’s dominance of that event.
“It took a toll on me for a few months,” he said. “The second I turned it around into motivation was kind of when I started making leaps forward. I think of that moment every single day….