“He had a ton of success here,” Dressel said. Although Lochte is a wonderful role model, Dressel said his major inﬂuences are Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Bo Jackson. He is also a fan of his coaches. “Coach Troy has experience [with Olympic training],” he said. “He’s an old guy; he knows what he’s doing.” Troy described Dressel as both highly competitive and devout. “One thing you always have to see in practice is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Dressel said. “I always say a prayer before the blocks to calm my nerves. As soon as that whistle blows I get in a different mindset.” Regarding the Rio Olympics, Dressel is working very hard to prepare for the Olympic trials; he takes nothing for granted. “I grew up very blessed with good parents and they taught me you have to earn what you work for,” Dressel said. One of Dressel’s most important swimming role models is Brian Murphy, a teammate on the Bolles School Sharks “dream team,” coached by Sergio Lopez Miro. Miro coached 17 swimmers with ties to Bolles in the 2012 Olympics, according to the Bolles website. Unlike most of the Sharks, Dressel attended Clay High School instead of Bolles. Dressel said he looks to Murphy for advice. “He’s a big inspiration for me,” Dressel said at the press conference, adding that he was “always like the little brother” on the team. Dressel has an active life outside the pool. An anthropology major, Dressel made the 2015-16 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll based on his grades from the 2015 spring, summer and fall terms, according to the SEC website. “He’s kind of a class act,” Troy said. “It’s a pleasure working with him. He makes you a better coach because he’s looking for ways to get better.” Dressel’s older brother swims for FSU and a younger sister will swim for UF next year. “All of them have real great technique,” Troy said, lamenting that UF “missed the boat” in not recruiting Dressel’s older sister. Troy attributes their success to great parents and the coaches they have worked with. Dressel has lots of swimming left, Troy said. “He’s only 19,” Troy said. “Most sprinters in the world peak at 23.” This is good news for Gator fans, who can expect to follow Dressel’s career for years to come. JULY/AUGUST 2016
OUR TOWN MAGAZINE
OLYMPIC HOPEFUL >> CAELEB DRESSEL
afternoons, along with general conditioning and core exercises. On Tuesdays he has a one- to two-hour session that is more technique oriented, Troy said, followed by weights for an hour. This same schedule is repeated on alternating days throughout the week. On Saturday, Dressel follows an extremely speciﬁc program. He also works regularly with strength coach Matt DeLancey and sprint coach Steve Jungbluth. “It’s a collaborative effort,” Troy said. “He’s a learner so he picks up from everyone.” Dressel is expected to swim the 50 and 100 freestyle if he qualiﬁes for the Olympic team. Troy said Dressel is also qualified in the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, but whether he swims in these races depends upon his performance at the Olympic Trials. “He’s really, really good,” Troy said, “but there are no sure things.” “It’s like the 100-yard dash,” Troy explained. “It’s really quick. There’s an incredible amount of work that goes into a really small time. It’s pressure-packed. You’ve got to be focused; there is no room for error.” The closure of the O’Connell Center Pool because of a major overhaul of the O’Dome has posed a challenge for Gator swimmers, but there have been some advantages for Dressel, whose training has focused on the long course (a 50-yard or meter pool) instead of the short course (a 25-yard or meter pool). In short course competitions, Troy said, swimmers can compensate for mistakes by pushing off the wall to recover speed. “We actually don’t have access to 25-yard water,” Troy said, because of the construction. Training outside has also meant more time in the sun. “I love it,” Dressel said, gesturing toward his arms. “Look how tan I am.” Dressel is constantly looking for ways to improve. “He’s very goal oriented,” Troy said. This quality is something the Florida swim team actively stresses during recruitment. “I look for high goal setters,” Troy said. “We’re looking for improvement in the whole person.” In his two years on the Florida swim team, Dressel has developed into a strong team player. “We’ve had some great success as a team,” Troy said. As an individual swimmer, Dressel has a similar skill set to Florida alumni Ryan Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist.