Meet Caeleb Dressel, the Next Michael Phelps! 

Samay Dadlani ’24

Contributor

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel has what it takes to be the next Michael Phelps. The 25-year-old is currently the fastest swimmer in the world. He was the only individual athlete to win five gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Dressel, the third oldest of four, was born on August 16, 1996, in Green Cove Springs, Florida. He began swimming in high school, breaking records left and right. At 15, he caught public attention as he completed the 200-yard (~183 meters) freestyle relay in less than 20 seconds, becoming the first swimmer under 16 to do so. While attending the University of Florida, Dressel would begin qualifying for international swimming competitions. At the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, he won seven gold medals, the first to do so in competition history. Dressel’s countless records and medals have earned him comparisons with Michael Phelps. 

Dressel has been the standout star of the United States of America’s Olympic swimming team ever since Michael Phelps retired after the 2016 Rio Games. In Rio, Dressel won gold medals in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Phelps and in the 4×100-meter medley relay. At the 2017 Swimming World Championships, he earned seven gold medals, tying the record set by Phelps himself.  

Tattoos have become a hallmark for Dressel, who has a total of 5 tattoos consisting of an alligator, an eagle, a bear, the Olympic rings, and the American flag. His alligator tattoo represents the University of Florida’s football team emblem, and Dressel believes it to be a momentous part of his career. The eagle represents focus and courage. Dressel’s bear tattoo represents the portrayal of his soul. His tattoo of the Olympic rings serves as a reminder of his achievement as an Olympian. The American Flag shows the patriotic pride that Dressel has towards the United States of America.  

Caeleb Dressel once said in an interview “My purpose on this earth is to leave a room brighter than I found it. I will inspire people to be happy and hopeful in the person they are capable of becoming. My ultimate goal in this is to not reach the world but just one person. I will show people, although we are different, greatness is within us all.” 

As of today, Caeleb Dressel has won a total of seven gold medals at the Olympics and 13 at the World Championships. Furthermore, he holds four world records for the 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter individual medley, and 100-meter (Short course) butterfly. Dressel is on the path to becoming the next Michael Phelps.  

Photo Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports