Why Isn’t Caeleb Dressel A Household Name?

by SwimSwam 48

March 27th, 2018 Lifestyle

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

We witnessed amazing things this past weekend watching the 2018 Mens D1 NCAA meet. Who can believe that a human being broke 40 seconds in the 100 free, or 18 seconds in the 50 freenot to mention 43 seconds in the 100 fly? Caeleb Dressel should be a household name this week after breaking through these barriers at his final meet as a senior swimming for the University of Florida.

We watched from home on the computer, something that wasnt possible years ago. The livestream was clear, the narration entertaining and professional. I remember trying to watch one of our friends kids at Trials in 2008 and the production quality wasnt great and the livestream paused repeatedly. Swim coverage has improved significantly through the years, but I wonder if the audience has increased?

Of course, Olympic sports dont get the attention at the collegiate level as the big money sports, like football and basketball. In addition, we hear heartbreaking news of universities canceling swim programs regardless of high GPAs or how many times the teams win conference meets, like the recent news of Eastern Michigan University. We have to wait every four years for the Olympics to come around to show the nation how great our swimmers are. Is there anything we can do as swim enthusiasts to change this? In all reality, probably not much. I personally dont have the power to change TV schedules or viewing habits, but I can work on several little things.

Here are a few ideas about how we can help the popularity of swimming:


Scorekeeping. Weve had friends come to meets and they dont know whats going on because theres never a score posted. In other sports, you know which team is winning. Is it possible to post scores often and prominently at meets where they are keeping team scores?


Bring a friend to the pool. Whether your team has a bring a friend dayor you ask one of your childs friends to visit practice, we can reach out to more kids and introduce them to swimming.


Keep swimming fun. One reason why kids quit swimming is its not fun anymore.By allowing our kids time to goof off with their friends around the pool deck, either before or after practice, and keeping our attitudes light, we may keep our kids in the pool for more years.


Invite friends and family to a meet. We can share our excitement and enthusiasm with our friends and family. Maybe not ask them to sit on the deck with us for two or three days, but have them stop by for an hour or two. Explain whats going on so they can follow along and maybe theyll catch the swimming bug.


Be an ambassador. Talk about swimming with your non-swimming friends and share how much the sport has helped your kids. Encourage friends at any age to get into the pool and enjoy the great feeling of floating in the water. Its never too late to join a Masters team.

In what other ways can we help the popularity or importance of swimming in our society?

Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on ther kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.

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Jordan Proffitt
6 years ago

You could say the same with Anthony Ervin. It all has to do with TV ads. However, that is changing because of live streaming. Maybe Stormy needs to join USA swimming to get the advertising numbers up. Worked for CNN. I joke.

6 years ago

We (the swimming community, NBC, ESPN, USA swimming, FINA, IOC) did a terrible job of capitalizing on swimming’s popularity after 2008 Olympics. That was the perfect time to launch high profile duel meets, pro team vs pro team, televised grand Prix meets, proper marketing (not #funnestsport). Basketball and football fans wear team jerseys, soccer fans wear team scarves, no swimming fan is going to walk around in a parka/ trench coat. Something as simple as that would help market the sport.

6 years ago

Im interested in seeing Dressel’s level of notoriety in America after 2020, especially compared to Phelps or Lochte. On the womens side, Missy and Ledecky both had Olympics were they dominated but Missy is still arguably more of a household name than Ledecky. Katie also just went pro so we’ll see.

6 years ago

Share this post and others on your social media feeds! Each time Caleb Dressel broke a record, I shared the SwimSwam post. I was lucky enough to be there in person for his 100 free, and you bet I recorded the race on my phone and posted it. I’m sure many scrolled past it, but I also had many likes and comments from outside the swim community.

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
6 years ago

He will get 9 golds

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
6 years ago

It is in my house

6 years ago

Number 1 on this list is such an obviously great idea that I as I read it I couldn’t believe the significance of it was occurring to me for the first time. Especially at the NCAA level, simply showing updated team scores after every event would be a huge improvement. There is a simple reason why Olympic Swimming is so much more fun to watch for an average swim fan than US Nationals (any kind of nationals): They have someone to root for! They aren’t just watching fast swimmers, they are watching a horse in a *race*. Any way to enhance or highlight the competitive/team aspect of it and make it less individual in nature will go a long way.

6 years ago


Reply to  Swimmer
6 years ago