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Caleb Dressel returns, but his skill yet to fully return

Caleb Dressel returns, but his skill yet to fully return

Posted July. 03, 2023 07:37,   

Updated July. 03, 2023 07:37


“Swimming star” Caeleb Dressel (U.S.) won't be able to participate in the upcoming World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, set to commence next Friday.

In the men's 50-meter freestyle heats at the 2023 USA Swimming Championships, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, the U.S. on Sunday, Dressel secured a time of 22:72, tying for 22nd place. Despite participating in four events, including the representative selection event, Dressel failed to secure a spot for the world championships. In the 50-meter and 100-meter butterfly, the 27-year-old managed to reach the finals, finishing in 3rd and 5th place, respectively. However, in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events, Dressel did not advance to the finals, ending up in 29th place.

Dressel has emerged as a prominent figure in the swimming world, drawing comparisons to Michael Phelps (38), often hailed as the “Swimming Emperor.” Notably, Dressel teamed up with Phelps to secure two gold medals in the 400-meter relay and 400-meter medley relay at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Since Phelps' retirement, Dressel's achievements have continued to impress. He claimed a remarkable total of seven gold medals at the 2017 Budapest World Championships and added six more gold medals at the 2019 Gwangju Games. Dressel's prowess was further showcased at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he triumphed with five gold medals.

Dressel encountered a challenging phase during the World Championships in Budapest held in June of the previous year. In September of that same year, he courageously opened up about his struggle with panic disorder and the overwhelming pressure he faced on social media. After taking a much-needed break, he made a return by participating in the U.S. national competition in May of this year.

According to a report by The Associated Press, Dressel expressed his satisfaction with the results, saying, “I’m proud of myself for the results, believe it or not.” ESPN noted a noticeable change in Dressel's demeanor as he departed from the interview, commenting that there was a distinct shift from his previous status as the world's top performer. Dressel's coach, Anthony Nesty, shared insights, mentioning that Dressel is experiencing genuine happiness in his swimming for the first time in a while. Recognizing the weight that comes with being in such a position, Nesty expressed his desire for Dressel to release that burden and swim with a sense of freedom.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com