Clay High grad Caeleb Dressel races his way back to Olympics

Clay High School graduate Caeleb Dressel of the United States reacts after competing in a semifinal heat for the Men's 100m freestyle during Day Four of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 16, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) (Maddie Meyer, 2021 Getty Images)

Caeleb Dressel is heading back to the Olympics.

The Clay High graduate won the 100-meter freestyle final in the US Swimming Trials on Thursday night in Omaha, Neb., making his return to the Games official. Dressel swam a 47.39 and beat Zach Apple (47.72) to secure his spot in Tokyo.

Dressel will be in search of his first individual medal when the Olympics in Tokyo begin. He won two gold medals in the 2016 Games in Rio, albeit both in relay events. Dressel won gold in the as the lead leg in the 4x100 relay and was on the heats of the eventual 4x100 medley.

He took sixth in the 100 free.

Things have changed since then as Dressel has continued to establish himself as the next megastar in US swimming.

Dressel won seven golds at the 2017 World Championships and six golds in the 2019 World Championships. In that latter championship, Dressel set world records in the 100 fly and in the 4x100 mixed free relay team. He has ticked off national and world marks at a furious pace

Dressel qualified for six events in the swimming trials, but has scratched out of three of those. He bowed out in the 200 IM, 200 fly and 200 free to concentrate on his marquee events.

Also on Thursday night, Dressel’s former Bolles Sharks teammate Ryan Murphy won the semifinal in the 200 back and advanced to Friday night’s final in that event. Murphy turned in a 1:55.60 to win comfortably over Austin Katz (1:56.26). He’s already qualified for the Olympics in the 100 back, winning that event on Tuesday night.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.