Caeleb Dressel sets Olympic record in 100 free, wins first individual gold

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jul 28, 2021

Caeleb Dressel was as fast as advertised in the men's 100m freestyle and then some, winning his first individual Olympic gold medal with an Olympic record time of 47.02.

Dressel, the 13-time world champion and third-fastest man in history, got off to a lightning-quick start with a 0.60 reaction time and just managed to hold off Australia's Kyle Chalmers by 0.06.

"It was a really tough year, really hard," an emotional Dressel said. "To have the results, it really came together so I'm happy."

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Chalmers took silver and Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee claimed bronze.

Billed as the fastest 100m final in history, it was fitting that Dressel broke the long-standing record of 47.05 that Australia's Eamon Sullivan set at Beijing 2008.

Following the race, Dressel, a native of small-town Green Cove Springs, Florida, exchanged an emotional Microsoft Teams call with family watching from Florida.

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Dressel is now a two-time gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics after leading off the victorious U.S. men's 4x100m freestyle relay earlier in the week. He has a chance at four additional golds in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, men's 4x100m medley relay and mixed 4x100m medley relay. 

Only four athletes have ever won six gold medals at a single Olympics: Belarusian gymnast Vitaly Scherbo, German swimmer Kristin Otto, American swimmer Mark Spitz and American swimmer Michael Phelps, who accomplished the feat twice.