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Wednesday August 17th, 2022 5:56AM

Defending champ Dressel drops out of 100 freestyle at worlds

By The Associated Press
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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Two-time world champion Caeleb Dressel is not defending his title in the men’s 100 freestyle at the swimming world championships after withdrawing before the semifinals.

Dressel was included in the initial start list for Tuesday’s semifinals in Budapest, but was not in an updated version with reserve Hwang Sun-woo of South Korea taking his place.

“A decision has been made by Team USA in consultation with Caeleb, his coach, and the team’s medical staff for him to withdraw from the 100-meter freestyle event on medical grounds. The team will determine his participation in the events later in the week,” U.S. Swimming told The Associated Press in a statement.

Dressel is due to race the men’s 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly later in the worlds.

Dressel was second-fastest in qualifying for the semifinals with a time of 47.95, behind Romania’s David Popovici, who was fastest in 47.60.

Popovici was even faster in the semifinals, clocking 47.13 for a junior world record.

But the 17-year-old Popovici would have preferred to have raced Dressel.

“It’s sort of a shame that I didn’t get to. But for the moment, I just hope he’s okay, because I don’t really know what happened,” Popovici told the AP. “But I’m sure he and his team made the right choice for whatever happened or whatever their plan is, because I’m sure they’ve got great people behind him.”

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