If you got teary watching Caeleb Dressel earn a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics, you’re not alone. The Team USA freestyle swimmer set an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle race, besting his rival, Australia’s Kyle Chalmers, to take the coveted first-place prize.
“I thought I executed my race plan perfectly,” Dressel gushed to The New York Times. “I couldn’t change anything. That’s how I felt in that moment.” Talking to NBC after his match, an overwhelmed Dressel reflected on the “tough year” it’s been and broke into tears. “I don’t know if it’s really set in yet,” he said, adding that he was a bit sore from his speedy swimming. “It really came together, so I’m happy.”
Dressel’s eyes welled up at his victory ceremony when the “Star-Spangled Banner” played.
Tears of joy. Tears of an Olympian.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 29, 2021
Dressel’s gold medal is his fourth medal overall, winning two gold medals for relay races in 2016’s Rio Games and one prior relay race at this year’s Tokyo Games.
“It is a lot different,” he said of getting a gold medal for his solo freestyle. “I guess I thought it would be, I just didn’t want to admit to it … It’s a lot tougher. You have to rely on yourself, there’s no one to bail you out.”
Get to know Caeleb Dressel and see why he’s being hailed as the next Michael Phelps!
How old is Caeleb Dressel?
Dressel will turn 25 on Aug. 16.
Who is Caeleb Dressel’s wife?
Dressel is married to Meghan Haila Dressel. They met on their high school swim team and married in February 2021. Meghan watched Dressel win his second gold medal from Florida, surrounded by other friends and family. (Dressel previously said that Meghan stopped swimming competitively in her sophomore year at Florida State University to focus on her goal of becoming a child-family counselor.)
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 29, 2021
She told NBC Boston that Dressel understands the sort of pressure fellow Olympian Simone Biles faced when she withdrew from the team and individual all-around gymnastics finals. “It’s definitely a balancing act for him. I think most of the time he has a handle on it and he’s good at it, but he definitely has his moments where it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh. This is a lot.’ It’s a lot of expectations, a lot of pressure.”
Dressel was rendered speechless as Meghan and his loved ones told them they loved him and were proud of him following his gold medal victory.
Caeleb Dressel’s tattoos details
Dressel has five tattoos: Olympic rings on his right forearm and a full sleeve on his left arm that includes images of an American flag, orange blossoms and oranges, magnolias, a bald eagle, a bear and an alligator. He’s previously said that his sleeve essentially represents his home state of Florida.
Who is Caeleb Dressel’s mentor Claire McCool?
Claire McCool was one of Dressel’s high school teachers and mentors. She passed away in 2017 from cancer, after which her husband gave Dressel one of her blue bandanas. Dressel wrote her name on his face during competitions in college and often carries the bandana in her memory to his matches.
Caeleb Dressel already broke one of Michael Phelps’ records
At the 2019 swimming World Championships, Dressel shattered the record Phelps set for the 100-meter butterfly. Dressel won the race in 49.5 seconds, besting Phelps by .39 seconds.
Swimming wasn’t Caeleb Dressel’s favorite sport
Dressel admitted to Sports Illustrated that he actually preferred football to swim growing up because swimming just wasn’t as hip at the time. “I was embarrassed about it,” he said. “It wasn’t a cool sport, and I didn’t really love it that much.”
Caeleb Dressel plays the drums
Check out his rendition of Fountains of Wayne’s hit “Stacy’s Mom.”
Caeleb Dressel’s family loves swimming
Dressel may be the best swimmer in his family, but he isn’t the only one: His father, Michael, was a competitive swimmer, and his sisters Kaitlyn and Sherridon both swim for the University of Florida.
Caeleb Dressel is a proud dog dad
Dressel and Meghan are the proud owners of a black labrador retriever named Jane.
Caeleb Dressel has a YouTube channel and podcast
Dressel has a YouTube channel, Dressel Dissect, in which he examines and speaks about his performance in the pool. He also co-hosts a podcast called The Ben and Caeleb Show with his friend and University of Florida swimming teammate Ben Kennedy, where they discuss just about anything that crosses their minds.
Caeleb Dressel Olympic Swimming Schedule
Dressel’s next Olympic matches are:
- 100-meter butterfly:
Final: July 30, 9:30 p.m ET
- 50-meter freestyle:
Heats: July 30, 6 a.m. ET
Semis: July 30, 10:11 p.m. ET
Final: July 31, 9:30 p.m. ET
- 4X100-meter medley:
Heats: July 30, 8:50 a.m. ET
Final: July 31, 10:30 p.m. ET