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Can Dressel emulate American swimming great Phelps?

July 17, 2019 22:07 IST

While admitting to being flattered by comparisons to Michael Phelps -- the most decorated athlete in Olympic history with 28 medals, a staggering 23 of them gold -- 22-year-old Caeleb Dressel says it is not something that crosses his mind.

Caeleb Dressel

IMAGE: Caeleb Dressel won gold in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100 medley at the 2016 Rio Olympics before his breakout 2017, offered a glimpse into how he trains at an elite level for several different events. Photograph: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Two years after making a splash as US swimming's "next big thing", Caeleb Dressel heads into the world championships in South Korea looking to show his rivals he is the man to beat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

 

There is no way the 22-year-old will fly under the radar this time around given the tattooed Florida native tied Michael Phelps' record by winning seven gold medals at the 2017 Worlds in Budapest.

While admitting to being flattered by comparisons to Phelps -- the most decorated athlete in Olympic history with 28 medals, a staggering 23 of them gold -- Dressel says it is not something that crosses his mind.

But the comparisons to the American swimming great could surely heat up in Gwangju if Dressel wins gold in his four individual events -- the 50m and 100 freestyle and butterfly.

Dressel, who won gold in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100 medley at the 2016 Rio Olympics before his breakout 2017, offered a glimpse into how he trains at an elite level for several different events.

"I like to aim for three objectives per day," Dressel told the Team USA website.

"I have this habit where I will just go and go and go and try to get as much done as I can, and I'll just start making stuff up to do, so I try not to limit myself. It lets me go to bed feeling like I've gotten a lot accomplished."

Dressel, who was hurt in a motorcycle accident last year, has already shown his blistering speed in 2019, including in the marquee 100m freestyle where he has been under 48 seconds three times, going as fast as 47.86.

The 100m butterfly is widely considered Dressel's event to lose after having clocked a world-leading time this season of 50.36 at the Mission Viejo Swim Meet of Champions in June.

"He's the new star of USA Swimming," Mark Schubert, coach of the Mission Viejo Nadadores swimming club, told the Orange County Register in June.

"Last summer, he was hurt. The summer before that, he killed it at the world championships, so you'd have to say that he's the favourite to be the guy next year."

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