And the winner of the Male Athlete of the Year is… Caeleb Dressel (but we already knew that). Dressel came into voting as the lone nominee for this prestigious award, as he was the only American male to win an individual World title at these past World championships in Gwangju.
Before Dressel’s historic performance in Gwangju, the Florida alum first showed up with class at the 2018 SCM World championships. In Hangzhou, Dressel walked away with 9 individual medals, 6 gold and 3 silver. Individually, Dressel won the 100 free in a new American record (45.62). He followed up with a pair of silvers in the 50 free and 100 fly.
His next six medals were part of stellar relay efforts, with 4 of them breaking the world record. Dressel was a member of the winning 4×50 free relay, 4×100 free relay, mixed 4×50 medley relay, and mixed 4×50 free relay, which all took down their respective world records.
After missing gold in the individual 50 free, Dressel also fired off both men’s and mixed 4×50 free relays in an American record time of 20.43. Dressel also added a gold in the men’s 4×100 medley, which broke the championship record and American record. Dressel’s silver medal in the men’s 4×50 medley relay sealed his 9 medal sweep in Hangzhou.
Seven months later, Dressel hopped in the Gwangju pool after his 7-medal haul at the 2017 meet edition for another record-breaking bout at the 2019 World Championships. Over the course of the championships, Dressel picked up a record-setting 8 medals at a single World championships. This feat also earned Dressel FINA Swimmer of the Meet for the second-consecutive time.
Dressel impressed with sweeping gold in all four of his individual swims, the 50 free, 100 free, 50 fly, and 100 fly. During the semi-finals of the 100 fly, Dressel threw down the highlight race of his meet by breaking Michael Phelps‘ legendary 2009 world record with a 49.50. His 100 free also broke his own American record, becoming the first American to break 47 seconds in the LCM 100 free with a 46.96.
Onto the relays, Dressel was a member of the world record-setting mixed 4×100 free relay, as well as picking a second relay gold medal in the men’s 4×100 free relay. Dressel then topped off his medal haul with a pair of silvers in both the men’s and mixed 4×100 medley relays.
This is Dressel’s second Male Swimmer of the Year win, adding to his first win in 2017.