Tokyo Olympics: Caeleb Dressel, dubbed US’s new Michael Phelps, wants to shatter Adam Peaty’s dreams
Dangerous Caeleb Dressel – dubbed the US’s next Michael Phelps – can handle the pressure well after winning his second gold in the 100m freestyle with an Olympic record… now he’s out to take on Adam Peaty’s Tokyo -break dreams
Adam Peaty will have to beat America’s own tattooed titan if he wants to win two more golds.
In a battle between the two great beasts of the Tokyo Aquatics Center, this weekend Peaty will swim the breaststroke and Caeleb Dressel the butterfly in the mixed and men’s medley relay.
Dressel, whose tattoo sleeve includes an eagle, a bear and an alligator, while Peaty’s is a lion and several Greek gods and Roman gladiators, is seen as the natural successor to the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.
Caeleb Dressel celebrates after setting an Olympic record to win gold in the 100m freestyle
But if that adds to the pressure, he can more than handle this, winning Thursday’s 100m freestyle with an Olympic record, in addition to the gold he had already claimed in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
‘He’s just a freak,’ said Chris Spice, British Swimming’s performance director Sports post. “And when you come across freaks in the sport, they’re always fun to watch. It was the same every time Phelps jumped in the water and it’s the same with him. He stands head and shoulders above others.’
In Rio 2016, Dressel won two relay golds alongside 23-time Olympic champion Phelps, who is now here for NBC television.
But the specialist sprinter made his mark at the World Championships the following year, hitting seven golds before following that two years later with six golds and two silvers.
Dressel is seen as the natural successor to the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps
In Tokyo, the 24-year-old is again looking for six in the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly, as well as those two relays against Team GB, which are yet to come. That would mean he would sit alongside Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only American swimmers to have won six in one Games.
In fact, Dressel would have looked to gold seven times had the US selected him in the 4x200m freestyle, a disapproval from Phelps after Britain raced to victory.
However, that was all forgotten on Thursday when the Floridian won his first individual Olympic title by 0.06sec and was in tears as he sang the national anthem.
“It means a lot,” Dressel admitted. “I knew that burden was on my shoulders. I had won relay medals, but never individually, so it was really special.
“It’s very different – you can’t rely on anyone else. It’s just you and the water, there’s no one to save you.’
Adam Peaty takes on Dressel this weekend in the mixed and men’s medley relays