"It was like 'Oh he does hurt in practice'"- Caeleb Dressel opens up about making a comeback at 2023 US Nationals

TYR Pro Swim Series San Antonio - Day 4
Caeleb Dressel speaks about his hiatus (Photo:Getty)

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel recently opened up about the nine-month long hiatus that he took after the 2022 World Championships. During the tournament, Dressel also snubbed the 100m butterfly event.

The major cause of this long hiatus was reportedly the mental fatigue and depression that he faced due to the extreme pressure that was imbibed upon him by public expectations.

The Florida native made a return to the sport last year in May just before the US Summer Nationals. However, he had to wait till December to register his first prominent victory amid his comeback at the US Open Championships during which he emerged victorious at the 100m butterfly event (duration 51.31 seconds).

Recently in an interview with Swim Swam, Dressel opened up about how his opponents felt after he came back from the long hiatus. The 27-year-old stated:

"I got back in the water, and they saw I was human. I wasn’t a robot. I wasn’t just a machine anymore. It was like ‘Oh, he does hurt in practice. He does struggle.'”

Dressel also remarked on the excessive pressure that was upon him to break the world every time he set foot in the pool. He said:

"I knew I was in a spot where it wasn’t healthy. I got to that point where I was like if I don’t break a World Record at whatever event, then my career is a waste.”

Dressel is not the first swimmer to face such mental pressure and anxieties across his career as the 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps himself openly announced a few years back that he faced acute mental health issues throughout his decade-long career.

Caeleb Dressel opens up about the upcoming Olympic trials

Caeleb Dressel at the TYR Pro Swim Series 2024
Caeleb Dressel at the TYR Pro Swim Series 2024

Caeleb Dressel's main motive in the season as of now will be to make it to the US Olympic team for the 2024 Paris Olympics. He has qualified for three events at the US Olympic Swimming trials, scheduled from June 15-23 at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

During an interview with Forbes in April, Caeleb Dressel opened up about his aspirations for the upcoming swimming trials. The 27-year-old stated:

"Well, really, trial is the big one. I don't like to make any assumptions, so I'm really excited for trials, which is in the Colts Stadium. So really excited to see what the pool looks like in person, and then hopefully for 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly my three babies, we'll get up and boogie, and then we'll be good to go to for Paris."

Dressel has already solidified his place among the greatest swimmers of the current circuit, especially after the legendary Michael Phelps retired from the sport. He has bagged seven Olympic and 15 World Championship gold medals and will be looking to extend his dominance in the third Olympics of his career in Paris.

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