Caeleb Dressel Hasn’t Swum Since Leaving Worlds Early

by Riley Overend 176

September 04th, 2022 News

Caeleb Dressel has finally broken his two-month silence after withdrawing from June’s World Championships for unspecified reasons. The seven-time Olympic gold medalist wrote on Instagram that he hasn’t swum since Worlds, but he’s been happy without the sport in his life.

“I haven’t swam since worlds and I can honestly say I have been happy without swimming,” Dressel wrote. “I really miss it though.

“A few things I’ve done… I finally went on a honeymoon to Iceland, I bought a tractor, hiked another section of the Appalachian Trail, swam with some manatees.

“I know I can have swimming and happiness. I had them both at one point in my life and I’m working on it. If you need a break, take one.

“I’ll be back,” Dressel added.

While Dressel hasn’t specifically said why he left the World Championships, most in the inner circles of swimming believe it was for mental health reasons. At the 2022 World Championships in July, Dressel was more or less in the form we’ve grown accustomed to seeing him in. He led off the U.S. 4×100 free relay in 47.67, helping the team to a gold medal. He then won gold in the men’s 50 fly with a 22.57. He swam prelims of the 100 free, but then pulled out of semifinals, and subsequently, the rest of the meet.

Notably, his two golds at the World Champs this summer marked his 14th and 15th LC World Championships gold medals of his career.

Dressel had been very quiet on social media since leaving Budapest early, but he’s now confirmed that he’s been taking a break from swimming completely. He hasn’t provided a timetable for his return to the water, but given the final statement, “I’ll be back,” in his IG post this evening we can expect that he will make a return at some point.

The 26-year-old notes in his post that he “finally” went on his honeymoon. He and his wife, Meghan Dressel, got married in February of 2021. It would seem they never went on a honeymoon following their wedding, possibly due to Caeleb’s training in the leadup to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last summer, or perhaps because of travel restrictions that were still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe a combination of the two.

Dressel did an interview with Brett Hawke on the Inside with Brett Hawke podcast in May of this year in which he talked in depth about the pressure to perform he was feeling in the leadup to Tokyo. He also discussed how his goal for this year was to find a balance between swimming and his personal life, citing an instance where he left a meet early in February to be with his wife on their one-year wedding anniversary after initially planning to race in the meet.

Spencer Penland contributed to this report. 

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M L
27 days ago

I wonder if he’d been consuming too much caffeine in the form of Pre-Workout. Over the past several years he has sometimes appeared SUPER wired after races—like almost manic. With his big schedule and training load, I can imagine it adding up and affecting the quality (if not also the duration) of his sleep, among other things. I’ve recently started drinking a modest amount of P-W before Masters workouts and I’ve noticed a big impact myself…

Riccardo
27 days ago

What he did in Tokyo is very under appreciated.

We rightfully talk about how great Popovici is, but I would say it is unlikely he will ever win 3 individual golds in a single Olympics.

Phelps exceeded 2 Individual Golds twice in 2008 and 2004, Spitz exceeded 2 individual golds once in 1972. Thorpe never did it, Biondi never did it, PVDH never did it, Lochte never did it, Salnikov and Hackett never did it…the list goes on.

I went back as far as 1964 and I couldn’t find another man besides Phelps, Spitz and Dressel to win 3 individual Golds or more. He’s 26…he could retire right now as one of the all time greats. Put some… Read more »

Swimmka
Reply to  Riccardo
27 days ago

Egerszegi won 100/200 back and 400 IM in 1992, Hosszu won 200/400 IM and 100 back in 2016 just a few examples…

Riccardo
Reply to  Swimmka
27 days ago

“I went as far back as 1964 and I couldn’t find another MAN”

Keyword: Man

Seve Johnson
Reply to  Riccardo
23 days ago

Had there been a full schedule in 64 Scholander would most likely have done it. He won the 100 and the 400 and was the world record holder in the 200, which was not held. He would have been close in the 50 also, but again was not an event.

Swimmka
27 days ago

What if just had to left the competition because he used a bit more substance that is otherwise forbidden for competition? I do not buy this mental health story… especially when I see those photos about traveling to Iceland. He had said “will come back” to reassure the sponsors.

Big Kicker
Reply to  Swimmka
27 days ago

Another candidate for dumbest comment on Swimswam

NB1
28 days ago

if it goes on like this, Universal will buy the rights to the story of “3 days in Budapest”

Dressel GOAT
28 days ago

, Is it possible to get him on the pod now that he’s available again?

I would love to hear his perspective on Worlds, his break…

Hopefully, we can see him this December at SC Worlds in Melbourne.

Last edited 28 days ago by Dressel GOAT
MAC Daddy
Reply to  Dressel GOAT
28 days ago

There is a wide gap between issuing a social media statement and being “available.” Here’s the truth: SwimSwam shouldn’t even want Caeleb right now from a journalistic standpoint. There are pointed questions regarding:

1) Pre-Worlds thought about declining Worlds team berth
2) Were there concerns prior, whether in Gainesville or in the training camp that built towards the decision at Worlds?
3) How was the decision to leave Team USA arrived upon?
4) Reservations about leaving a team he’d been voted captain of in the middle of competition
5) What changed between Days 2-3, in which he only collected only golds, that you couldn’t go on
6) Who was aware this would be the decision… Read more »

Teddy
Reply to  MAC Daddy
28 days ago

He’ll talk about all these things eventually. I don’t even know of it would be that clear to him at this point, so I don’t think we need to be like ravenous dogs demanding answers right now

Lay off

Troyy
Reply to  MAC Daddy
28 days ago

They’ll never ask these kinds of hard hitting questions because they might lose access to athletes if they do.

MAC Daddy
Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

If they’re cutting questions in exchange for future access…we’ll then they’ve already lost.

john26
Reply to  MAC Daddy
28 days ago

Surely, NBC will play gatekeeper and make sure these questions never get asked on camera. He’ll probably be asked “why did you leave WC early” once in a very controlled/friendly manner, where he’ll have a prepared/articulate/satisfactory answer that’ll satisfy casual viewers. This will be the “official” answer that gets circulated in most media.

Foreign media (probably Australia) will probably ask the real questions, and likely won’t get the answer they’re looking for.

MAC Daddy
Reply to  john26
26 days ago

Gatekeeper may be played, but not by NBC.

Xman
Reply to  MAC Daddy
28 days ago

If he gets asked to discuss the medicinal problem he will probabaly give the same answer Austin Staab gave when he came back “no”.

Honestly dude just needs a break, anyone who has worked a stressful job 12 hours plus a day for 5 years straight can relate.

Wouldn’t mind him talking about farm life and that tractor.

Phelps swims 200 breast rio
Reply to  MAC Daddy
27 days ago

Most excellent. I wish I could upvote this comment a few more times.

Bad Hare Day
Reply to  Dressel GOAT
28 days ago

There’s a 0% chance he will return to competition this year. The SC Worlds isn’t even a particularly important meet in the grand scheme of things. And Chalmers obviously has the upper hand in that context, being the defending champion and WR holder.

Dressel may resume training over the holiday break, I suppose. It’s much more likely that he starts training again sometime in 2023, with a focus on a lighter schedule for the 2023 WCs in Fukuoka (probably the 50 free and 50 fly individually, plus relays).

Troyy
Reply to  Bad Hare Day
28 days ago

Miressi is defending champion at SC Worlds. Chalmers headed back to Australia early to have surgery.

Xman
Reply to  Troyy
27 days ago

Another surgery? How is this guy an elite athlete 🤦‍♂️

Troyy
Reply to  Xman
27 days ago

How did you miss that news? He had one shoulder done pre-Tokyo and the other done after. That’s why he was uncertain to even compete at WCs this year.

Xman
Reply to  Troyy
27 days ago

Yes and now he is having another one?

Troyy
Reply to  Xman
27 days ago

I was talking about SC worlds last year. As far as I know Chalmers’ shoulders are fine at the moment.

Teddy
28 days ago

What kind of conversations do national federations have with their athletes after the Olympics? Do they have serious conversations about taking a break, looking after themselves etc.?

It seems like post-Olympic years are quite disastrous for a lot of athletes

Last edited 28 days ago by Teddy
Teddy
Reply to  Teddy
28 days ago

He trying to do his full schedule after a 2-year Olympic year, which seems unwise considering the state that he was obviously in from his media appearances before these worlds

Seems like it might have been a lot smarter to have him just do 50s and maybe one of the relays where they actually needed him to win. Or just skip these worlds

Yuri
28 days ago

Mental health is ALWAYS n.1 priority, no question about this. Many legends of many sports have taken a break, that’s fine. But what is unprecedented is that someone stops DURING the competition ( and behaving very amateurishly by not saying anything for 2 months ). Being a legend of a sport requires having a superior talent, a superior work ethic and a superior mind. If you cannot end a competition you started I’m sorry but I cannot put you in the same category of other legends.

Something similar but different for other reasons can be said about Titmus : ‘one of the reasons I won’t swim at Worlds is because i want to avoid the pressure of racinc Katie… Read more »

Joel
Reply to  Yuri
28 days ago

And some of those people you listed took to drug taking, seriously abusing line judges, accusing umpires of cheating, upsetting the first time winner of a major, drinking and driving, abusing teammates…….the list goes on. Dressel and Titmus did none of those things as far as we know. I know which legends I prefer to admire thanks.

Last edited 28 days ago by Joel
Yuri
Reply to  Joel
28 days ago

Those were mistakes. But giving up IN THE MIDDLE of a World Championship in unprecedented. And don’t forget the 2 months of silence, such an amateurish and childish behaviour, that was the worse. So you may not want to admit it, but Caeleb has lost a lot of respect in the swimming community for these 2 actions, you know this is true.

A Night in Terror Tower
Reply to  Yuri
28 days ago

It’s true. I had to cancel my Dressel bobblehead pre-order due to his actions.

R&R
Reply to  Yuri
28 days ago

Unprecedented… maybe in swimming, but not in sports considering Simone Biles just quit for similar reasons in the middle of the Olympics. When does Caeleb get his Presidential Medal of Honor?

Swimmka
Reply to  R&R
27 days ago

Except that Biles stayed there to support its teammates and actually continued the Olympic racing in beam. And in gymnastics you are really doing very dangerous stuff, so if you loose control on your mind you can be seriously injured. But in swimming???

Martinfamily
Reply to  Swimmka
21 days ago

Yes, compairing Biles situation to Dressel’s is apples and oranges. And true, the only thing Dressel was going to get from staying quiet this long was more attention to it. He handled it poorly.

Sub13
Reply to  Yuri
28 days ago

I don’t think it’s necessary to bring Titmus’s “legendary” status into this at all. I think she’s very talented but don’t consider her one of the “legends” at this point, but she certainly could be.

Whether or not she becomes one will certainly not be decided by her decision to skip a slapped together world champs.

Adrian
Reply to  Yuri
27 days ago

Very prominently, Simone Biles pulled out during competition. She didn’t remain silent though.

Yuri
Reply to  Adrian
27 days ago

Ok but Simone Biles would have literally risked her life because she could not have the space perspective ( twisties ) and could end up landing on her head.

That’s totally different and she had a valid reason to opt out, Caeleb did not.

What I simply mean is that you are a champion not only by your results, but by the way you behave. Jesse Owens may not be the fastest ever, but winning gold in Nazi Germany in front of Hitler who considered him a monkey is something beyond amazing, who defines what kind of mental strenght he had. For that reason too he is a legend in the Mount Olympus.

So for me quitting in… Read more »

chunkymunky
Reply to  Adrian
27 days ago

Simone Biles did so much for mental health awareness by talking about it. She got up in front of a million microphones and faced the music.

Caeleb hid.

Caeleb has every right to make decisions based on his mental health. But he hasn’t done anything great for the mental health movement by not saying a word about it. I’m sure when he comes back he’ll have a Talkspace sponsorship and then he’ll be happy to discuss it.

chlorinemami
Reply to  chunkymunky
27 days ago

just because an elite athlete discloses that they struggle with their mental health doesn’t mean that they’re required to become some kind of spokesperson or advocate.

chunkymonkey
Reply to  chlorinemami
27 days ago

Yeah but just because an athlete discloses that they struggle with their mental health doesn’t mean they get a presidential medal of freedom for it. That was the original comment. Your reply takes my response out of the context it was written in.

Anthony Preda
28 days ago

‘SwimSwum’

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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