Overcast, 63°
Weather sponsored by:

Dressel opens up about 2022

Randy Lefko
Sports Editor

Posted 8/24/23

GAINESVILLE - After his historic and unexpected departure from the 2002 World Swim Championships in Budapest, Caeleb Dressel, 7X Olympic Gold Medalist, has been mostly silent in his response to …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

Dressel opens up about 2022


Posted

GAINESVILLE - After his historic and unexpected departure from the 2002 World Swim Championships in Budapest, Caeleb Dressel, 7X Olympic Gold Medalist, has been mostly silent in his response to numerous media requests to talk about the fateful days that followed.

In an one-hour interview on YouTube with SWIMSWAM.COM's Mel Stewart, Dressel let a little bit out on how his life has transitioned.

"I needed every bit of the eight months I was out of the water," said Dressel. "(Olympic coach Anthony) Nesty had me in the water like one hour three days a week for five or six weeks. It was really tough."

Stewart writes that "During and immediately after 2022 World Champs, there was not a public statement from Caeleb Dressel because he didn't know what was happening to him, but it was clearly a mental health event."

"I went numb," said Dressel in a one-hour interview after Dressel participated in TEAM SPEEDO photo shoot recently. "On the plane ride back, I was like what is going on right now? I had to go home. I was completely done."

Dressel noted that one of his first returns to water was a swim with the manatees with his wife Meghan, who recently announced a Dressel grandchild (future champion?) was imminent.

Stewart wrote about Dressel seeing a therapist and questioning whether he should swim again or take care of his mental health.

"I had a shirt made; Motorcycles, hiking and counseling, that's all I was doing," said Dressel. "Every now and then, I would go for a run to get my heart rate up, but swimming was not in the picture."

At the recent U.S. World Swim Trials, where Dressel was a heavy number one ranked swimmer based on a huge resume and being a past world champion, the Clay High grad failed to make the US World team.

"I lost my age group fun for just swimming," said Dressel. "I got results, I kept thinking of the one-ups from the 2017 Worlds (7 golds) to 2019 Worlds (6 golds)."

Dressel, who did race at the U.S. World Trials, but finished no higher than a fifth in the 100 fly an event that he holds the world record in, admitted to Stewart that it was fun to race, but tough not being in the center lane, normally where top qualifiers go in finals races.

"I got more love from that meet from friends who welcomed my return," said Dressel. "Even after the 100 fly, I cried because I wasn't used to being where I was."

Dressel's Olympic swim coach, Anthony Nesty, after the 2022 World Championship event, commented that Dressel just needed a break.

"2022 mental break, and where Caeleb is at right now, he is a happy swimmer," said Nesty, after the 2022 Worlds. "And, I like training happy swimmers."

One thing Dressel told Stewart was of his unreadiness for the media burst on his time.

"It does get tough, but I try to act like it doesn't bother me, but it does," said Dressel. "When you are carrying the weight not only what your goals are and also I've got Phelps (Michael) comparisons, it's hard."

Two goals for Dressel, in Stewart's story, are the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and to eventually become a swim coach.