Former Florida star Caeleb Dressel wins first gold medal of Tokyo Olympics

Former Florida men’s swimming star Caeleb Dressel won his first gold medal and the Gators’ third medal overall in the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. He helped the United States defend its gold medal in the men’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay.

He started the relay for the Red, White and Blue where he grabbed the lead in the first 15 meters of his opening leg. Dressel finished his swim in 47.29 seconds then his teammates Blake Pieroni, Bowe Becker and Zach Apple sealed the win for the U.S with a time of 3:08.97 and a 1.14-second margin of victory over Italy and Australia.

“It feels great, we knew there was a huge target on our backs,” he said in an interview after the race, according to The Alligator. “We’re never going to doubt ourselves, that’s how Team USA works.”

Dressel also won two gold medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the men’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay and in the men’s 4×100 meter medley relay.

On Saturday, fellow Gators Kieran Smith and Natalie Hinds earned bronze medals in the men’s 400-meter freestyle and in the women’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay, respectively.

Dressel returns to the pool again for the men’s 100-meter freestyle prelims Monday. Then he will team up again for the men’s 4×200 meter freestyle relay, men’s 100-meter butterfly, men’s 50-meter freestyle and the new men’s 4×100 meter mixed medley relay later in the games.