Meet 2016 Olympian Caeleb Dressel from Green Cove Springs, Florida. In the video Caeleb discusses how he was forced into swimming by his parents and preferred soccer, but eventually dropped soccer when swimming began to take off. He also talks about how when he’s behind the blocks is when he’s most calm during a competition, and that once he qualified for the Olympics all of the people who helped him get there flooded into his head.
Dressel’s talent in the water was discovered at a young age, breaking the 13-14 National Age Group record in the 50 freestyle at the 2011 Junior National Championships in Palo Alto. Through high school Dressel trained with coach Sergio Lopez and the Bolles School Sharks, training with the likes of Ryan Murphy, Joseph Schooling and Santo Condorelli, all of whom will also compete in Rio.
In 2013 Dressel became the youngest swimmer in US history to swim sub-50 in the 100 free, ultimately lowering the 15-16 NAG to 49.28. He also claimed records in the 50 and 200 free there. He continued his tear at the 2013 Junior World Championships winning six medals, including a gold and another age group record (now in the 17-18 category) in the 100 free of 48.97. He also broke the 50 free record in 22.22 finishing third. Dressel capped a fantastic year becoming the first 18 and under swimmer to break 19 seconds in the 50 yard free, going 18.94 (another NAG).
Dressel then went off to the University of Florida, where he won gold in the 50 free at his first NCAA Championships in 18.67, 0.01 off Nathan Adrian‘s American record. It was also a school record, and became the first Gator to ever win the 50 free at NCAAs. Dressel then competed at the 2015 US Nationals, clcoking best times of 21.53 and 48.78 in the 50 and 100 free, both good for wins. His clocking of 21.53 ranked him 3rd in the world at the time, and would’ve won bronze at the World Championships.
In 2016 he had an unbelievable college season, breaking the 50 yard free NCAA and American records multiple times, ultimately going 18.20 to win his second straight NCAA title. He also won the 100 free in a new American and NCAA record. Dressel went on to qualify for the Olympics in late June/early July, finishing 2nd in the 100 free in a best time of 48.23. He had a disappointing swim in the 50, finishing 4th in 21.80, but will still have the 400 free relay and potentially the 400 medley relay to swim in Rio.