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at the Paris Olympics he will defend the 50m freestyle

He did it. Caeleb Dressel will be able to defend one of the three individual gold medals won in Tokyo in Paristhat of the 50m freestyle, the competition of power, intensity and splashes, the only Olympic swimming event over the shortest distance (the 50m backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke have not yet entered the five-circle schedule, despite being the global and continental one, who knows why).

Dressel, now 28 years old, had left swimming in the summer of 2022 at the world championships in Budapest, after winning gold in the 50m butterfly and the 4x100m, abandoning competitions as yet another victim of the pandemic that was affecting the champions: the purely psychological virus of mental health: «It’s one thing to compete for fun, another to win and always set records» He said. He was away from competitions for 11 months: in eight of these he limited himself to swimming, but only “bathing”, just to keep in good physical shape. In the meantime he married Meghan and had a son, August, born in February. Having entered “normal life”, little by little the desire to compete returned. He started competing again quietly, taking times away from those who were better than him: but he didn’t care, since all that mattered was swimming. “And smile,” he said, underlining «You don’t hear me, though, when I’m alone with my wife or my therapist».

Now at the American Olympic trials underway in Indianapolis, after having missed out on individual qualification in the 100 freestyle by just 6 cents (third place in the trap which is used in the United States for Olympic entry, however, guaranteed him a place in the relay for his third Games) Dressel won the 50, finishing in 21.41which is the fourth time of the yearstill far from the 21.04 which is his American record (the world record, 20.91, belongs to the Brazilian Cielo Filho and dates back to 2009 when swimmers wore “suits” that floated on their own and gave a significant time advantage).

Dressel’s words

«C‘It’s time to improve. The important thing – he added – was to win in front of my son and qualify for him for the Paris Games. He won’t remember it, he’s too young, but at least it happened». Caeleb also highlighted how his best time since the restart was 22.6: «My son and I will remember this Indianapolis race for the rest of our lives».

Now Dressel has the chance, tonight, to earn another ticket: in the 100 butterfly he achieved the best entry time in the semifinal, 50.79. And she did it 37 minutes after 50 style. In the 50 freestyle he was followed at the plate by Chris Guiliano, second in 21.69. Thus Guiliano, a 21-year-old from Pennsylvania, took the third individual qualification: in addition to the relays, he will do the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, equaling a feat that an American had not achieved for 36 years, since he achieved it in 1988, in view of Seoul 1988, Matt Biondi, (he won 50 and 100) who added the 100 butterfly which he lost by a hundredth to Anthony Nesty of Surinam, the first African American gold medalist in the history of Olympic swimming (the second medalist, after Enith Brigitha, the Dutch girl native of Curaçao in the Caribbean who had won a silver and a bronze in Montreal 1976, at the time of the unbeatable Prussians of the GDR) and currently Dressel’s coach.


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