American sprint specialist, Caeleb Dressel was born in Green Cove Springs, Fla. on August 16, 1996 to parents, Michael and Christina Dressel. He also has three siblings, Kaitlyn, Tyler and Sherridon, all three of whom are all competitive swimmers. His talent was exposed at a young age, and before he was even a teenager Dressel was breaking records left and right; at the 2011 Junior National Championships in Palo Alto, Dressel broke the boys 13-14 National Age Group Record in the 50-meter freestyle. Throughout club and high school swimming Dressel trained with Coach Sergio Lopez’s Bolles School Sharks at a time in which the club was referred to as a “dream team”. He was one of the few members who didn’t attend Bolles, but instead was a student at Clay High School. Dressel is a former Junior World Champion, NCAA All-American and multi-time National Age Group Record Holder.
2012 Winter Nationals
A year after breaking his first individual NAG Record, Dressel pulled it off again at the 2012 USA Swimming Winter Nationals. He led off the 200-yard free relay in 19.82, where he became the first swimmer under 16 years old to break 20 seconds. Dressel broke Bolles teammate Ryan Murphy’s former 15-16 boys NAG Record. At the same meet Dressel was so dominant in the 100-yard free that he broke a 15-16 NAG Record that had been held for 22 years — a record that had been set in 1990.
2013 World Championship Trials
In 2013 Dressel competed at the World Championship Trials, and although he didn’t qualify for the team, his performances were very impressive. In the preliminary swim of the 100-meter free, Dressel broke a 23-year-old National Age Group Record set and made him the youngest swimmer in U.S. history to swim a sub-:50 second 100-meter free. In the final of the event, Dressel swam the event radically different taking out the event nearly a half-second faster than prelims and even though he finished 8th in the race, Dressel crushed the 15-16 boys NAG Record for a 2nd time. A bit later, he broke his record for the third time at Junior Nationals, finishing in 49.28. Dressel also broke the 15-16 NAG Record in the 200-meter free.
His meet wasn’t finished though, as Dressel then took on his primary event, the 50-meter free. Dressel tied the 15-16 NAG Record in the 50-meter free, where his 22.72 tied that of Shayne Fleming. The ironic part of the record is that it was done in a time trial since Dressel did not have the qualifying mark. Instead, Dressel travelled back to Florida to try and the break the tie at a home meet at Bolles. The swim paid off because Dressel took the title for his own this time, swimming a 22.59.
2013 Junior World Championships
After a stunning World Championship Trials performance for someone at such a young age Dressel was selected to the 2013 Junior Worlds Team in the 100-meter free, 50-meter free and 200-meter free. Dressel snuck into the 200-meter free final, and dropped nearly a second to finish sixth overall. In the same day he helped his U.S. team take bronze in the 4×100-meter medley relay.
After moving up an age group before traveling to Dubai for Junior Worlds, Dressel was now out for a 17-18 National Age Group Record. Dressel finaled in the 50-meter free, and touched third in 22.22, which was good enough for his 17-18 NAG Record — the mark had been set two weeks prior by Bolles teammate, Santo Condorelli. He broke his second 17-18 NAG Record in the 100-meter free, where he dominated the field breaking 49 seconds for the first time. His mark was good enough for gold, and good enough to take down the record, which was held by Michael Phelps.
Senior year competition
Competing for Clay High School Dressel turned his sights from USA to high school swimming after Junior Worlds. In his senior year Dressel showed off at the FSPA Invitational in Florida, where he broke the National High School Record in the 50-yard free with little to no rest. He also put up an impressive 50-yard breaststroke split on the 200-yard medley relay. To prove just how versatile he truly is Dressel broke the 100-yard fly at the same Invitational, and the race was his third in 45 minutes. At the Florida 2A High School State Championship meet in Stuart, Dressel broke his own National High School Record in the 50-yard free, and put up impressive times in both the 200-yard free and 100-yard free to win four state titles.
Dressel was highly regarded as the most coveted high school recruit in the class of 2014. Originally he looked at Florida, Texas, Auburn and Tennessee and added Florida later in the mix. After breaking seven National Age Group Records, Dressel committed to the University of Florida — the school his father also attended. Dressel says he chose Florida because he believed that Coach Troy could help him reach his goals.
First 18&U swimmer under 19 seconds
In December at the 2013 Winter Junior Nationals, and at just 17 years old, Dressel finally pulled off a sub-19 second swim. The 18.94 50-yard free he put up ranked 15th on the all-time list, regardless of age. The swim was also another 17-18 National Age Group Record for Dressel.
University of Florida
As just a freshman at the University of Florida Dressel had a stellar year. He was named the 2015 SEC Freshman Swimmer of the Year, was a three-time SEC Freshman of the Week and was named to the 2014 First-Team All SEC. After having a successful dual-meet season Dressel competed for Florida at the SEC Championships. He was runner-up in both the 50-yard free and the 100-yard free, and won his first SEC Championship in the 100-yard butterfly. Dressel also competed on four of Florida’s relays. Dressel was the first freshman to be credited with seven wins since Shaun Frasier in 2007. While the relay teams won the Championship final, Dressel swam on the relay in the prelims only, thereby receiving credit for the win as being part of the relay teams.
Dressel was invited to the 2015 NCAA Championships, where the freshman led the Gators starting Day One, when he became the first Gator EVER to win an NCAA title in the 50-yard free, and became the first Florida freshman to win an NCAA title since 2005. His time in the 50 free (18.67) was a new school record, and he also earned Honorable Mention honors in the 100-yard free and 100-yard butterfly with 11th and ninth-place finishes. Dressel was also a member of four top-five relays.
Sophomore Caeleb Dressel returned to the 2016 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships in Columbia, Missouri as the defending NCAA Champion in the 50 yard freestyle. In prelims he dropped the fastest 50 yard freestyle in history, 18.39, to break the SEC, NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records.
See the records he broke:
- SEC Championship Record, Matt Targett, 18.52 (2009 SEC Championships)
- SEC Record, Cesar Cielo, 18.47 (2008 NCAA Championships)
- American Record, Nathan Adrian, 18.66 (2011 NCAA Championships)
- NCAA Record, Cesar Cielo, 18.47 (2008 NCAA Championships)
- U.S. Open Record (fastest ever), Cesar Cielo, 18.47 (2008 NCAA Championships)
This adds to the increasing legend of Dressel, who two years ago became the first junior swimmer under 19 seconds in the 50 yard free, and then last season broke his own National Age Group Record with an 18.67 – which is still a whopping four-tenths of a second faster than anybody else in that age group has been.
USC’s Vlad Morozov swam a 18.63 in 2013, his last year as a collegiate swimmer, that was the previous fastest time in a textile suit.
VIDEO – SEE DRESSEL’S 18.39 50 YARD FREE U.S. OPEN RECORD
2016 NCAA Championships
Once again, Dressel wowed the crowd, swimming to an 18.20 in the 50 free – a full .5 of a second ahead of 2nd place, posting new American, Pool, and NCAA records. He also won the 100 free in American, Pool, and NCAA records of 40.46, again an impressive .6 seconds ahead of 2nd place. He touched the wall 2nd in the 100fly, losing only to NCAA champion and former teammate at Bolles, Joseph Schooling.
Interesting side note, Dressel was named co-swimmer of the meet, sharing the title with his former age group teammates, and Bolles Swimming alumni Joseph Schooling and Ryan Murphy.
Watch Caeleb Dressel’s 18.2 50 yard free:
2017 NCAA Championships
In his Junior year, Dressel made it a trio of golds in his individual swims at the NCAA Championships. He didn’t fail to impress the crowd for the third straight year. He began the meet by defending his 50 yard freestyle title in 18.23, narrowly missing his own U.S. and NCAA record.
In the 100 yard fly, Dressel became the first man to break 44 seconds, beating Joseph Schooling to the feat. At the halfway point he sat in fourth place, but blasted off the wall the take down the rest of the field. He stormed home in 22.88 seconds to take the gold in a new NCAA and U.S. record in 43.58.
He arguably left his best race until last, destroying the U.S., NCAA and American 100 yard freestyle record in 40.00 seconds. He took the gold .95 of a second ahead of Micheal Chadwick in second.
Watch his 40.00 100 yard free:
Dressel also added a silver medal when he joined Jan Switkowski, Maxime Rooney and Mark Staranek in the 400 yard freestyle relay.
2015 U.S. Nationals
In August of 2015 Dressel and a big squad of Florida swimmers travelled to San Antonio, Texas for the 2015 Phillips 66 Nationals. Switching it up a bit, Dressel’s first race of the meet was in the 100-meter breaststroke, where he finished within the top 30. In the preliminary of the 50-meter free, Dressel smashed the 17-18 boys National Age Group Record by nearly half-a-second. The time also put Dressel as the sixth-fastest 50 free swimmer worldwide and the second-fastest American in 2015. In the finals Dressel lowered his record even further, this time dropping far below 22 seconds to touch first in 21.53 — the third fastest time in the world behind Florent Manaudou and Nathan Adrian.
After a dominant showing in the 50 free, Dressel came back the following day to take down another record. In the preliminary heats of the 100-meter free Dressel was just .01 seconds off of his NAG Record set in summer 2014. In the finals, Dressel took out his first 50 controlled, flipping in 3rd place behind Cullen Jones and BJ Hornikel, but he charged home with the second-fastest last 50 in the heat to win gold. He touched in 48.78, finishing ahead of Texas’ Jack Conger by only .27 seconds. Dressel broke his own National Age Group Record, and his time ranked him as the second-fastest American in 2015 behind Nathan Adrian.
2016 U.S Olympic Trials
Dressel qualified to make his Olympic debut after finishing 2nd in the 100 meter freestyle, securing both an individual and relay swim at the games. He touched just 3 hundredths of a second ahead of Ryan Held who came in 3rd.
2016 Rio Olympics
Dressel secured his first Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay in Rio. He led off for Team USA, and went out like a rocket. He finished his leg just behind France to hand over the reins to Michael Phelps. Phelps moved in to first, stretching to a one second lead ahead of France. Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian maintained the lead and USA took gold in 3:09.92.
On the last day, Dressel was a member of the 4×100 medley relay that swam in the heats. Dressel took over for the freestyle leg, securing a second place seed for USA’s A team in the final. Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian went on to win the final, giving Dressel his second Olympic gold medal for his efforts in the prelims. Dressel also swam the individual 100 meter freestyle, finishing sixth in the final in 48.02.