Swimming

Dressel: Comparisons with Phelps don't put pressure on me

Rising star Dressel dubbed the next Phelps after seven-gold feat at Worlds

With Michael Phelps in retirement, Caeleb Dressel stepped out of his idol's shadow to match the American swimming legend's tally of seven golds at the Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The 20-year-old became the first swimmer to win three world golds in one session by winning the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly and the mixed 4x100m freestyle titles within 98 minutes on Saturday.

Yesterday morning (Singapore time), he claimed his seventh gold of the week in the men's 4x100m medley relay to match Phelps' record tally from the 2007 Worlds.

Dressel's tally included three individual titles in the 50m, 100m free and 100m fly, plus four relays golds in the 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m mixed freestyle, 4x100m mixed medley and the 4x100m medley.

However, the enormity of his achievements had yet to fully sink in for the University of Florida undergraduate.

"I've never had it happen so I don't really know what to say," said the 1.91m-tall, 86kg swimmer of his seven-gold feat.

"I'm going to take a little break in Europe, go to Poland and Scotland and just enjoy myself. It was probably the most fun I've had in eight days.

"It was an absolute blast getting to do what I love."

Dressel's achievements put him in the same class as American greats such as Phelps, Ryan Lochte, who won five Worlds golds in 2011, and Mark Spitz, who clinched seven golds at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

“I don’t know if I welcome them. But I know they’re going to come.”Caeleb Dressel, on inevitable comparisons with Michael Phelps

When asked about the inevitable comparison with Phelps, he told the Washington Post: "I don't know if I welcome them.

"But I know they're going to come. I don't think it puts any pressure on me. I just want to keep doing my thing at this meet and for the future."

Phelps offered his congratulations, posting on Instagram: "This kid is on fire!!"

Dressel's performances summed up the dominance of United States, who finished with 38 swimming medals in Budapest - over five times more than nearest rivals Britain, who managed seven.

"I'm very happy to be done, pretty tired," he said.

"Its been a good season, a good year, there are a lot more that goes into this than what people see in seven days.

"I knew I had a chance in a few events and, of course, the real prize for America are the relays which are also a lot of fun."

His achievements unsurprisingly earned him the best male swimmer award at the championships. However, before he goes off on holiday, Dressel must sit for a maths test today.

When asked if he was ready for the test, he said: "Probably not, it's probably going to go pretty bad.

"I will probably be happy with a B-minus, that is the next goal when the meet's over, to get over that maths test.

"I've had a decent semester with it, it's been all online and I am not good on online."

Dressel's exploits in Budapest have been hailed by his teammates.

"This is probably one of the top-five best swim meets ever by an American male - the other four going to Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte," said American Olympic backstroke champion Ryan Murphy.

"It's no small achievement, hopefully this is just the beginning for him and he can have a really great career."

Sweden's sprint queen Sarah Sjostrom also voiced her admiration. She said: "I don't even know if he went to the Olympics last year? He has definitely taken a really big step this year." - WIRE SERVICES

united statesSwimmingCaeleb Dressel