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Meet Caeleb Dressel, the Fastest Swimmer in the World

·4 min read
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Move aside Michael Phelps, because Caeleb Dressel has entered the pool.

The 24-year old swimmer is the fastest swimmer in the world and has the potential to be the fourth swimmer in history to earn seven medals in a single Olympic Games.

Does his name sound a bit familiar? Well, that's because the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be the second time Caeleb swims for Team USA. At the 2016 Games, he won two gold medals. And now, this summer, he will be swimming alongside 52 teammates, including Katie Ledecky and Ryan Murphy, in events such as the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly.

Not to mention, he holds multiple world records plus seven gold medals from the 2017 World Championships and eight gold medals at the 2019 World Championships. No other swimmer in history has earned eight medals at one World Championships competition. So, yes, safe to say he's a BFD.

But there is way more to Caeleb—who doesn't actually enjoy the spotlight, according to NBC Sports—than just the waves he's making. Keep scrolling to find out who he is outside of the pool.

Get to Know the U.S. Swimmers Competing at the Tokyo Olympics

Swimming Wasn't His First Love
Caeleb didn't exactly dive headfirst into the sport. In an interview with Mad Rabbit, he admitted that his first love was actually football and that it "still kind of is." He also played soccer and ran track but, as he got older, he decided to focus his energy on swimming.

However, it took a while to get there. "I was embarrassed about it," Caeleb told Sports Illustrated. "It wasn't a cool sport, and I didn't really love it that much." He ultimately went on to compete at the collegiate level for the University of Florida, where Ryan Lochte also got his start.

Caeleb Dressel, Instagram
Caeleb Dressel, Instagram

But His True Love is His Wife Meghan
Despite his dedication to swimming, Caeleb's love for his wife Meghan is unmatched. The pair are high-school sweethearts who both swam for the Bolles School Sharks club team. Caeleb and Meghan attended different colleges, but that didn't deter their relationship, and they got engaged in 2019.

The couple had a Valentine-weekend wedding, because what better day is there to get married than the holiday that celebrates love? Caeleb described his wedding as the "greatest day of my life" on Instagram. He is not alone in his sentiment as Meghan is just as enamored with her husband, seen in her Instagram caption, "The best day of my life. I can't even begin to explain how beautiful marriage already is."

Caeleb Dressel
Caeleb Dressel

His Ink Has Meaning
On Caeleb's left arm, he has a sleeve of tattoos, including an eagle, a black bear, an American flag and an alligator, which is a tribute to University of Florida. "The whole sleeve is Florida-themed," he previously told Swimming World. "I've got oranges...And then the black bear and an eagle. I love bears...my favorite animal. All the animals are native to Florida. I have some Magnolia flowers on the inside as well."

And, of course, on his right arm, he has the Olympic rings.

Caeleb Dressel
Caeleb Dressel

He's Actually Pretty Sentimental
Perhaps the possession that means most to him is his blue, black and cow printed bandana which once belonged to his late high school math teacher, who had a huge impact on his life. "I smell it. I kiss it. I don't care. I sleep with it next to my head every night." Caeleb explained in a Florida Gators Swimming & Diving video. "She's with me every race, and she will be until I finish my career."

Meet the U.S. Team Going for Gold at the 2020 Olympics

Swimming Is in His Blood
It's thicker than water, right? His dad Michael swam competitively and both his sisters Kaitlyn and Sherridon share his love for the pool, swimming for University of Florida.

Caeleb Dressel, Instagram
Caeleb Dressel, Instagram

He Makes a Splash Outside of the Pool Too
Boating, wake boarding and hiking are just a few activities Caeleb enjoys doing outdoors. In fact, after the Olympics were postponed last year, he hiked the Appalachian Trail for six days with his family. Fun fact: He kept running out of water, so they nicknamed him Bone Dry.

Plus, he's also a musician, spending his free time—whatever that may be—playing the drums. (Check out his Instagram to see him playing "Stacy's Mom"). He's also an avid reader, telling NBC Sports he's read Zen in Martial Arts multiple times. (If you want to borrow his copy, you'll find it completely highlighted.)

Want To Know More? You're in Luck
Because he has a podcast and a YouTube channel. He hosts the former, called The Ben and Caeleb Show, with former housemate and UF swim teammate Ben Kennedy. They tackle everything from their love lives to bloody noses. So yes, a lot of range.

For content focused more on swimming, there's his YouTube channel, Dressel Dissect, in which he takes the time to reflect and dissect his swimming technique and races. After all, as he's explained, "There is always something to learn in every swim."

Watch 2020 Tokyo Olympics coverage every day on NBC and Peacock.