Caeleb Dressel was no doubt a favourite heading into the 2019 FINA World Championships, but the American reached unexpected heights including breaking Michael Phelps 100 fly world record which stood for ten years.
Dressel won the six gold and two silver medals; three of those gold medals was won in a single evening which proves the 22-year-old performs better under pressure. It was no surprise that Dressel was awarded male swimmer of the Meet, an honour which he received at the previous Championship in 2017 as well.
What sets Dressel apart from the other athletes, is arguably what he truly values. The win is important and it is clear that hours and hours of training has made him the talent we see in the water but Dressel has no attachment to the physical gold medals. In fact, he has been seen giving away a medals after the awards ceremony. Dressel has stated that his most valuable possession is a blue bandana which he clutches onto and prays before every race and has on him during every medals presentation. The bandana belonged to his maths teacher, Claire McCool, who lost her battle with cancer in 2017. Dressel has said, “She is with me every race”.
The swimmer is a true example of humility, reminding fans that the victory is the prize and that one’s beliefs, relationships and values are far more important than silver or gold.
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