Shaine Casas ranks 6th all-time in 100m butterfly

US Nationals: Shaine Casas ranks 6th all-time in the 100 butterfly; Equal to Ian Crocker’s iconic brand

There was a time when Shaine Casas was considered – more than anything – a must-see prospect in backstroke events. Sure enough, he realized that potential. If NCAA titles weren’t enough to confirm that status, a bronze medal in the 200-meter backstroke at last month’s World Championships certainly did the job.

These days, however, Casas is much more than a back phenom. Less than two years away from the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the 22-year-old is one of the best all-around performers in the world. His backstroke skill is complemented by world-class ability in the 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley and 100m freestyle.

It was the 100 butterfly he flourished in on Thursday night, as day three of the U.S. Nationals wrapped up at the William Woollett Aquatic Center. Running at the Southern California venue, Casas set a personal best of 50.40, a significant figure in sports history. It was the second podium of the competition for Casas, who finished third in the 100 freestyle on the opening night.

Clocking in at 50.40, Casas tied for sixth place all-time in the event, sharing the spot with Ian Crocker. It was at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal that Crocker put that number on the scoreboard, a world record that was hard to understand at the time. Seventeen years later, Casas matched that time to join Crocker as the third-fastest American.

Match results

That Casas produced a spectacular performance in the 100 butterfly came as no shock, considering how he has improved in the event over the past few years. Additionally, at the Austin Sectionals earlier this month, Casas established himself as one of the fastest men in the event’s history, thanks to a performance of 50.56. That time, Casas was ranked ninth on the all-time list and fourth among Americans.

Obviously, he wanted to be a little faster.

In what was mostly a race against the clock, Casas came out of the blocks and covered the first length in 23.31, giving him a 0.66 margin on Shaun Champion. On the final lap, Casas continued to pull away and clocked a split time of 27.09. His last time would have won silver at the World Championships. Champion hit the wall second in 51.54, with Gabriel Jet goes 52.19 for third.

Casas was a star for Texas A&M on the collegiate stage before deciding to turn pro ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. Eventually he moved his training to the Jamail Swim Center, on the University of Texas campus, and the work he recorded with Eddie Reese enabled Casas to enhance its profile.

The next Olympiad is just around the corner, an unsurprising scenario given the three-year gap between Tokyo and Paris due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And Casas quickly established himself as a medal hopeful in the 100m butterfly, among other events. A measure of his status as a podium contender will be the United States International Team Trials next year and the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

As the world record holder and reigning Olympic champion, Caeleb Dressel remains No. 1 in the event, a stranglehold that leaves only one American bid in global competitions – be it the Olympics or world championships. As it stands, two guys are fighting for second place, Casas and Michael Andreanother multi-test speedboat.

At the recent World Championships in Budapest, Andrew finished fourth in the 100m butterfly, his outing of 51.11 just short of the podium. More impressively, Andrew clocked a run of 50.06 as the United States took the silver medal behind Italy in the 400m medley relay. While the pressure was not comparable, Casas surely fired several warning shots.

Casas has another intriguing event coming up at the Nationals as he is due to contest the 200 IM on the final day of competition. This platform, like the 100 butterfly, will be an opportunity for Casas to show off his budding talent.

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