Swimming

Dressel shuns contact with family during Olympics as he cries a lot

American swim star Caeleb Dressel describes himself as a loner and a "bit of a weirdo" as he blocks out distractions in his quest for a gold-medal haul at Tokyo 2020.

The American set an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds in the men's 100m freestyle yesterday morning to win by 0.06sec, denying Rio 2016 champion Australian Kyle Chalmers from retaining his title.

Russian Kliment Kolesnikov took the bronze in 47.44sec.

In the evening, Dressel led the field of 55 swimmers in the 100m butterfly heats, clocking 50.39sec to equal Singaporean Joseph Schooling's Olympic record set in Rio 2016.

The 100m free title was Dressel's first individual Olympic gold and his second in Japan after Monday's 4x100m free relay win, with the 50m free, 100m butterfly and relay golds still within his grasp.

"I don't really talk to many people at these meets, I'm kind of a loner, a little bit of a weirdo," said Dressel, 24.

He is also shunning social media and keeping contact with family back home to a minimum.

"You have to manage your emotions," he said, moments after a tearful medal ceremony.

"I cry a lot. And so I can't be calling them (family) every night, you know, exerting that energy, but it's got to be put into my swimming.

"I'm not on Instagram, I know I'm not posting anything... it's energy that I don't need to be exerting.

"That's just how I work and operate so I'm not bashing anyone. That's just my routine."

Dressel set the pace in the 100m free final down the first 50m, with Chalmers and Kolesnikov close behind, then fended off a late charge from the Australian to cling on for gold.

Chalmers said he was used to chasing Dressel into the finish and was delighted with his form.

"It's very special," he said. "Lots of people are actually struggling to do that, so to stand up and do that, I'm really proud."

The Olympic gold was Dressel's fourth overall, including his two relay wins in Rio in 2016, and came amid expectations on him to double that at these Games.

"I'm pretty good at putting a face on," he said. "I know my name is out there and I understand that but I couldn't care less about it.

"But it's just something that comes with the sport, when you're on top of the podium.

"I'm fine with it and it's up to me whether or not I turn it into stress."

LATE SURGE

Alongside Dressel's triumph in the marquee event, fellow American Bobby Finke clinched the 800m free in 7:41.87 with an impressive late surge.

He finished 0.24sec ahead of Italian world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri. Ukraine's Mykhailo Romanchuk took the bronze in 7:42.33.

Australia's Zac Stubblety-Cook took gold in the men's 200m breaststroke in an Olympic record of 2:06.38.

He was third on the last turn, 1.2 seconds adrift of the lead, but delivered an astonishing final lap to finish ahead of the Netherlands' Arno Kamminga (2:07.01) and Finland's Matti Mattsson (2:07.13).

The gold was the first in men's breaststroke for Australia since Ian O'Brien won in 1964, also in Tokyo, and also in the 200m. - REUTERS

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