Phelps’s new heir

Is Caleab Dressel on a path to Michael Phelps's level?

Caleab Dressel and Michael Phelps winning gold in a relay at 2016 Rio olympics.

Photo provided by swimdodo.com

Caleab Dressel and Michael Phelps winning gold in a relay at 2016 Rio olympics.

Jacob Prail, Staff Writer

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Michael Phelps, one of the greatest swimmers and Olympic athletes of all time, finally has someone to take over his throne. Enter Caeleb Dressel, one of the greatest collegiate swimmers, shattering records. Dressel is the only man to break 18 seconds in the 50 free, which for those who do not follow this sport, let me tell you it’s really really fast.

Dressel is a homegrown Floridian who swam at the dominant Bolles swim program in Jacksonville, Florida. He dominated FSPA in the 50 free and 100 fly, being one of the few swimmers out of the Bolles program not to swim for the high school. He instead swam for Clayton High. At states, he broke his own national record in the 50 free and won four state titles. Dressel was also the 17-18 national age group champion. At 17, he was the first 18 and under to break 19 seconds going 18.94 in the 50 free.

Coming out of high school, Dressel was wanted by everyone. Florida, Texas, Auburn and Tennessee were the ones he considered. He ended up choosing Florida because of the coach there. And that was Coach Gregg Troy, who is also an USA Olympic coach as well. As a freshman, Dressel made sure the Gators and the whole SEC felt his impact. He went runner-up in 50 and 100 free at SEC championships. He also won 100 fly at the same meet. Then at NCAA championships in 2015, he became the first Gator ever to win the 50 free. At the same meet, he placed 9th in 100 fly and 11th in 100 free. Dressel was only getting started.

In 2016, he went back to Columbia, Missouri and defended his 50 free championship at SEC championships, going an SEC, NCAA and American record 18.39. It didn’t stop there; Dressel went to NCAAs and beat his own record. Not only that, he won 100 free and placed 2nd in 100 fly. He and former Bolles teammate Joseph Schooling and Ryan Murphy were named co-swimmers of the meet.

In 2017, Dressel still could not be stopped. He defended the 50 free and won the 100 fly, which was a new NCAA and U.S record. Then he backed it up again going 40 flat to win the 100 free by almost a whole second in the race.

Now here’s where Dressel went from great to legendary. He made the 2016 Rio Olympic team and earned two gold medals on relays. Dressel went to 2017 FINA world championship and completely dominated the field, tearing down 50 free records and 100 free records. But the most memorable race at Budapest was the 100 meter fly, where 30 minutes after his 50 free gold medal performance, Dressel had to hop back on to the blocks and race. Not only did Dressel win, but he was .04 seconds from Phelps’ world record that was set in 2009. He ended up picking seven gold medals, matching Michael Phelps for the most medals at the World championships.

Dressel is a once in a lifetime athlete and swimmer, much like Michael Phelps. No one has been more dominant than Dressel and he keeps getting faster. Come 2020 Tokyo, Dressel will forge his own legacy, one close to Phelps, making Dressel heir to the throne.

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