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.