7-time Olympic gold medalist and Team Speedo athlete Caeleb Dressel talked with SwimSwam for nearly an hour, detailing his journey back to the sport since his abrupt departure from the 2022 World Championships in Budapest. Caeleb’s plain-spoken, funny, and he does channel vulnerability as strength in this interview. Coming off a big Speedo international photo shoot with all of his Team Speedo peers from allover the world, Caeleb was in good spirits and ready to talk on this topic.
I don’t want to speak for him, so I’ll strive to be brief outlining what he shared.
During and immediately after 2022 World Champs there was not a public statement from Caeleb because he didn’t fully know what was happening to him, but it was clearly a mental health event. In his words — I went numb. Back home he immediately starting seeing a therapist, a therapist who he continues to see. Moreover, in the immediate aftermath and for months, Caeleb was unsure if he could continue as an athlete. Taking care of his mental health was the only priority.
For those who are in therapy or have experience with therapy, Dressel did a very deep dive. For some further insight, two books he read that were meaningful for him in his recovery process are:
Swim fans may remember Caeleb’s high school years and a period of time he took away from competition. That wasn’t talked about much at that time, but in this interview Caeleb confirms and explains what happened at the 2022 World Champs was similar to what he experienced in high school.
Coach Anthony Nesty, mindful of what Caeleb’s been working through, held Caeleb back in training. The process of reentering training has been very slow. Caeleb adds a lot of context to the topic.
U.S. World Trials was an unknown for Caeleb, but after so much time away pool he wanted to race and be back among his peers. It was fun to race, but tough not being in the center lanes. Caeleb confirms, yes, his fly was better than his free in his opinion, but with so little training U.S. World Trials was just a check on where’s he at in the process.
Caeleb’s a yes-man. He says yes to everything, and that clearly hurt him–the pressure of the media hurt. In his words — I’m not wired for media or social media. I like being in the pool or on my farm. It sounds like he’ll manage media differently going forward.
Caeleb wants to swim through LA2028. He wants to race as long as he can find meaning and excitement in the sport. He loves USA Swimming’s Olympic Trials in front of the hometown crowd. LA2028 is a goal.
Caeleb, post-career, will stay in swimming. Caeleb wants to be a swimming coach. Caeleb plans to race as long as his ability and training allows him to be competitive as an elite.
Caeleb watched some events at 2023 World Champs, and he followed the results. He things Team USA’s performance was great a year out from the 2024 Olympics, noting the 20 silver medals.
There’s a lot more in this podcast interview. I hope you appreciate his candor.
This post was possible thanks to SwimSwam partner, Speedo. We are aware Speedo has a big 2024 reveal coming, which was the reason for the big Speedo International photo shoot, but Speedo has not confirm the dates of the announcement yet.
SWIMSWAM PODCAST LINKS
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Spotify
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Podbean
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Google
- Click here to listen and subscribe on YouTube
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Listen Notes
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Stitcher
- Click here to listen and subscribe on iHeartRadio
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Amazon
- Click here to listen and subscribe on Pandora
Music: Otis McDonald
Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.