Caeleb Dressel Wins First Individual Medal, Sets Olympic Record

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American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won his first Olympic gold medal in an individual event on Thursday, setting an Olympic record of 47.02 seconds in the 100m freestyle and beating Australian Kyle Chalmers by six hundredths of a second.

Dressel sprang through the blocks—six-hundredths of a second faster than Chalmers—and was ahead all the way.

100 free is a classic event where every swimmer swims as a child before splitting into various specialties. This version of the men’s 100 freestyle has been colored by a rivalry that has developed since the 2016 Rio Games, when Chalmers, then 18, won the gold medal and Dressel was sixth after his 20th birthday.

But Dressel has since won a couple of world titles at the event, and the Tokyo Games felt like a real leap to wider fame.

Dressel, now 24, took the United States past Italy and Australia to the gold medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay in Tokyo this week. Her gold medal in the 100’s glamor event could be a kind of coronation for Dressel, who has two events yet to be swam: the 50m freestyle and the 100m butterfly.

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