The 24-year-old American swimmer who tied a record with five gold medals at a single Olympics needs a break.
Caeleb Dressel, a Florida native, won gold in all five races he competed in: the 100-meter butterfly, the 100-meter freestyle, the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, the 4x100-meter medley relay and the 50-meter freestyle. That puts him in elite company with just Mark Spitz, Kirstin Otto, Matt Biondi and Michael Phelps, who did it three times.
But Sunday, after two different races, Dressel spoke only of his post-Olympic plans.
“This is not easy, not an easy week at all,” he said during a press conference.
“Some parts were extremely enjoyable. I would say the majority of them were not. You can’t sleep right, you can’t nap, shaking all the time. I probably lost 10 pounds. I’m going to weigh myself and eat some food when I get back. It’s a lot of stress we put on the body.”
Dressel has spoken publicly about the stress he faces against such high expectations in a sport ready to crown him the next Phelps, but his remarks came through louder Sunday after Simone Biles, days earlier, stressed the need for athletes to take care of their mental health.
But the University of Florida graduate said he’s “really good at hiding my emotions.”
“I can put a pretty good show on before each race, but once I shut it off, it just floods out,” he said.
A known journaler, Dressel said he was too tired Saturday night to even document his professional highlight.
“I’m going to take a break, take a little break here,” he told reporters Sunday. “I’m pretty over swimming, guys.”