Caeleb Dressel sets world record, wins another gold

TOKYO — Caeleb Dressel had to wait. For days here in Tokyo, as the Olympics that were supposed to be his Olympics sprinted into full gear, he was, for the most part, bound to a training pool. He swam for a relay gold on Monday, but he already had a couple of those.

He was, whether he’d admit it or not, waiting for individual gold. “The beginning of this meet was pretty tough,” he said Thursday. “I was champing at the bit, getting ready to go.”

On Thursday, he got his individual gold, and the flood gates opened.

On Saturday, Dressel got his second, in the 100-meter butterfly. And he did it with a world record.

The 24-year-old American had been flirting with his own best-ever mark for a while now. Here at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, he broke it. He powered past Hungary’s Kristof Milak and won in 49.45 seconds, better than his previous record of 49.50 at the world championships in 2019.

Milak finished second in 49.68, under the previous Olympic record time. Switzerland’s Noe Ponti won bronze.

The 100 fly was the first of three swims for Dressel in a span of roughly 80 remarkable minutes. A section of American teammates cheered him on from the stands as he went. He later won his heat in the 50-meter freestyle semifinal, then anchored the U.S. mixed medley relay to close out a busy Saturday.

And even then, Dressel won’t be done. His Olympic meet was back-heavy. He’s a gold medal contender in the 50-meter free final and, likely, the men’s medley relay on Sunday. He could leave Tokyo with five medals, and as the most decorated of the nearly 11,000 athletes here.

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