Caeleb Dressel does it again.
The sprint specialist found himself on the medal stand once more in Tokyo, taking home gold in the 100m butterfly. Heading into the race, Dressel was the heavy favorite after tying the Olympic record (50.39) in the heat and breaking it less than 24 hours later during the semifinal. He somehow one-upped himself again, setting a new world record with a time of 49.45.
Kristof Milak of Hungary came in second at 49.68, while Switzerland's Noe Ponti took bronze with a time of 50.74.
The 24-year-old won his first individual gold medal just a few days ago after setting a new Olympic record in the 100m individual freestyle. Once Dressel realized what he had accomplished, the emotions came flooding to the surface.
"I don't know if it's just set in yet. Right now I'm just kind of hurt," Dressel said, running a hand through his hair. Then, he started tearing up. "But it's a really tough year, it's really hard so to have the results show up. I mean, it really came together, so I'm happy."
But Dressel isn't done yet. The swimming star is still set to compete for gold in the individual 50m freestyle and potentially two more relay events, including the mixed 4x100 medley relay slated for Saturday. The possibility of winning six gold medals still in play is a big reason why Dressel is seen as the heir apparent to Michael Phelps.
"The 24-year-old Dressel shares Phelps’s competitiveness and versatility but skews more toward sheer speed and power," Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde wrote. "He might not yet be the Usain Bolt of the pool, but he brings a similar jolt of electricity to the sprint events. Gracefully fluid beneath the water and startlingly forceful on top of it, with a Willy Wonka factory’s worth of eye candy as part of the package, Dressel may be the ultimate swimming spectacle."
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