Securing his place as one of the biggest stars of the Tokyo Olympics, Caeleb Dressel won finished off his gold rush at the Tokyo Olympics with two more dazzling swims – picking up his fourth and fifth gold medals.
The 24-year-old Floridian captured his fourth and fifth gold medals of the Tokyo Games on Sunday.
Dressel cruised to a relatively easy win in the frenetic dash from one end of the pool to the other in the 50-meter freestyle Sunday, touching in an Olympic record of 21.07 seconds.
He was perfect in the events he had a chance in, capping off his stunning week in the final race at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre by putting the Americans ahead to stay in the 4×100 medley relay on their way to a world record.
Dressel’s two golds today means he is the stuff of Olympic legend.
He joins fellow Americans Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi and East Germany’s Kristin Otto, as the only swimmers to win as many as five golds at a single Olympics.
Caeleb Dressel, the fastest man in the world in water, stormed to gold in the 50m freestyle
Team GB’s Ben Proud just missed out on a medal as he finished fifth, 0.15 seconds behind third
Dressel described his medal haul as ‘surreal’ as the swimmer from Florida clinched his fifth gold in the Olympic swimming pool.
He said he was ‘excited’ by all the success he has enjoyed this past week and added: ‘At the moment, I am trying to take it all in.’
The golden guy of Team US swimming had one gold which he secured in Rio when he arrived in Japan and he leaves with five more.
He said: ‘It’s fantastic. I wouldn´t change a single thing.’
But he confessed that there were more unenjoyable parts of the Olympics than enjoyable due to the fierce competition for medals.
However, he added: ‘But the highs are very high. The nerves are a bit different during the meet and after the meet they don´t exist.
‘It’s a really special moment. I’m really proud of myself. It’s just really fun racing. I will pat myself on the back and then go away and compete again.’
Asked what his 50m victory in Tokyo meant to him, he said:’ It means a lot. That was the first race that kick-started my swimming career ever since I was a kid.
‘So it has come full circle. ‘I remember watching Manaudou (who took silver) win that in London. So it is crazy. I remember watching it on TV.
‘So it is an honour to be able to race him and be able to get my hands on the world first with a race stacked with guys who I have been watching race as a kid. So it is funny, really funny.
‘It’s very surreal. I am just trying to take it all in with being on the podiums, and all the Tokyo 2020. It is all over now. I am excited.
Dressel also won Olympic gold in the 100 meter freestyle, the 100m butterfly, and the 4x100m freestyle. He set two world records in the butterfly and the 100m free,.
A few minutes after Dressel climbed from the pool, Australia’s Emma McKeon completed her own freestyle sweep. She touched in 23.81 seconds to take the women’s 50 free, adding to her victory in the 100 and her sixth medal overall at these games.
In keeping with the theme of the day, Bobby Finke pulled off his own sweep in the two longest freestyle races.
Dressel has now won four gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics after his latest victory
With another strong finishing kick, Finke became the first American man in 37 years to win the 1,500 freestyle. He added to his victory in the 800 free, a new men’s event at these games.
In the men’s 50, France’s Florent Manaudou finished behind Dressel to repeat as the Olympic silver medalist in 21.55, while Brazil’s Bruno Fratus claimed the bronze in 21.57 – edging American Michael Andrew for the final spot on the podium.
In the ready room shortly before the race, Dressel paced back and forth anxiously while most of the other swimmers relaxed in their chairs.
Then, he was cool as can be in swimming’s most furious lap. Popping up from the water with the lead, as is always the case with his impeccable underwater technique, Dressel was clearly in front all the way in a race that is often too close to call.
Dressel had one more event – the 4×100 medley relay, a race the United States has never lost at the Olympics. He was swimming the butterfly leg in a race that caps nine days of swimming competition at a 15,000-seat that, sadly, was largely empty throughout the meet.
If Dressel claims a fifth victory, he would join Americans Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi, as well as East Germany’s Kristin Otto, as the only swimmers to win as many as five golds at a single Olympics. Phelps did it three times.
McKeon also has a shot at history after winning with an Olympic-record time of 23.81.
The silver went to Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in 24.07, while defending Olympic champion Pernille Blume of Denmark settled for bronze this time in 24.21.
American Abbey Weitzeil finished last in the eight-woman field.
The American blew his competition away as he recorded a superb time of 21.07 seconds
McKeon has a chance to earn her seventh medal in the 4×100 medley relay. No female swimmer has ever captured that many at a single games.
Just as he did in winning the 800 free, Finke stayed close throughout the 30-lap race and turned on the speed at the end. He touched in 14 minutes, 39.65 seconds.
Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk took the silver in 14:40.66, while the bronze went to Germany’s Florian Wellbrock in 14:40.91. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri faded to fourth in 14:45.01.
The top four were close nearly the entire race, often separated by less than a second. But that was right where Finke needed to be. After his closing lap in the 800, he knew he had the speed at the end to beat everyone else.
Finke has been perhaps the biggest American surprise at the pool. Relatively unknown before the U.S. trials, he became the first American male to win the grueling event since Mike O’Brien at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.