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Chatting with Caeleb Dressel: The heart and mindset of a champion (Includes interview)

Former Secretary of State and retired four-star U.S. Army general Colin Powell once said: “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” An individual who is the epitome of this quotation is Caeleb Dressel.

The pride of Gainesville, Florida, Dressel is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, 13-time world champion, two-time world record holder (100 meter butterfly long course and 50 meter freestyle short course), 10-time NCAA champion, as well as three-time “College Swimmer of the Year.”

Dressel is looking forward to the upcoming ISL season, which starts in mid-October and it will be held in Budapest, Hungary. He is returning to compete for the Cali Condors. “I am very excited. It has been a weird year so a lot more people are excited about it since we haven’t had that many competitions this year,” he said.

“I am very much looking forward to it and being with a team again and racing again. I feel there is a lot more excitement for this year’s ISL than last year’s, so I think it’s going to be good,” he added.

World champion swimmer Caeleb Dressel competing in the International Swimming League

World champion swimmer Caeleb Dressel competing in the International Swimming League
International Swimming League

He praised iconic Olympian Jason Lezak, who serves as his team’s General Manager. “It’s great to have Jason [Lezak] on board. He is a super cool guy. He has a lot of wisdom in the sport and it’s nice to have him easily accessible for anything regarding swimming. He sits in well with the team, he’s a swimmer and he knows the sport inside and out and he knows how to treat the swimmers and how to interact with us. He has done a great job so I am glad that he picked me up from the beginning and I am glad he got me on the Cali Condors,” Dressel said.

This season, Dressel will officially be a co-captain of the Cali Condors along with world champion and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Olivia Smoliga. “I want to do my part the best that I can,” he said. “Olivia has done her part just as much as I have so I don’t want to take any more credit.”

Piece by Piece Live with Caeleb Dressel

He also opened up about his virtual course, “Piece by Piece Live with Caeleb Dressel.” This is an 11-part online program that is designed to help swimmers and athletes with their mental game, motivation, technique, goal-setting, as well as their health and fitness. “To be honest, ‘Piece by Piece’ has been great,” he admitted. “I look forward to every single episode. It has been really fun doing it. I didn’t know what to expect starting off but it’s something I definitely want to keep doing, as well as make changes and improvements along the way, and try to make it bigger and better every single year.”

In this interactive online webinar, Dressel reveals some of his secrets that have catapulted him to achieve success in his athletic career and in life. “I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I hope the people who signed up are enjoying it. I think everyone is having a good time,” he said.

He is a firm believer that the perfect race in swimming doesn’t exist, and rightfully so. “There are many areas I want to improve upon. That’s why I am still doing it. If I was bored with the sport, I would be done with it. The mental game of swimming offers me a whole spectrum of challenges, so I pinpoint some of them and act on them day in and day out, and I go from there. I am far from having swimming even close to figured out,” he said.

Caeleb Dressed makes International Swimming League debut

Caeleb Dressed makes International Swimming League debut
International Swimming League

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Dressel responded, “I’m trying to develop great habits and move forward from there.” “Everything is not just about swimming, swimming definitely gives me the challenge to improve my life but it’s really about looking from any possible area or any possible person to learn from. That’s where I am at,” he explained.

The Ben and Caeleb Show

He acknowledged that the podcast “The Ben and Caeleb Show” has been going well. “It has been good. We are on a little bit of a break right now, but we will be back again. I am always looking for new projects. We will take it in stride,” he said.

Episodes of “The Ben and Caeleb Show” are available on Dressel’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

Postponement of Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021

Regarding the postponement of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo to 2021, he said, “I am totally fine with it. I am glad that they have it figured out, and it’s nice to have an actual date on it rather than not being sure if anything was going to get going or not. I understand why they had to do what they did. It’s nice to have a date in place and something to look forward to.”

When asked if he developed any new hobbies during this quarantine, he shared that he did a lot of “cleaning up.” “It was nice for me to step away from the sport,” he said. “This has been a great year for me, to be honest. I know a lot of people are upset with 2020 but I’ve grown a lot in 2020 and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve gotten better in the water, I’ve gotten better in practice and in how to compete. My mindset has developed better habits.”

“It’s about cleaning up habits and looking for ways to get better every day. It’s an accumulation of small, little things,” he added.

On the commonalities that he sees among champions, Dressel said, “They have a strong mindset and they take things to the next level. They need to be committed to their sport and enjoy it. Everyone has different backgrounds, everyone comes from different places, and everyone does different sports and the beauty of becoming ‘great’ at your craft is that there is not one set way to do it and that’s an awesome thing. It’s about staying committed and everything you do inside and outside of the pool becomes a factor.”

Dressel enjoys spending time with his black labrador, Jane. “Jane has been great. I was out of town this week, I’ve missed her, so I will hang out with her,” he said.

He defined the word success as “setting what that standard is for yourself and constantly striving for that perfection.” “You are never going to reach that perfection but I think the chase is the fun part,” he said. “Success is determined in your own head. It’s constantly challenging yourself and looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done everything possible with your habits throughout the day, throughout the week, and throughout the month to put you on the path for greatness.”

“Success really boils down to habits, and it boils down to challenging yourself day in and day out,” he added. “Success is what your standards are and what your goals are.”

For his fans and supporters, Dressel expressed, “I appreciate all of them. It’s fun interacting with my fans and it’s always humbling having people look up to me. I don’t consider myself any different than young swimmers or older swimmers. It doesn’t matter, I am on the same journey as a lot of people. Just because I swim fast doesn’t mean I am any better than anybody. I appreciate people looking up to me, it’s quite an honor but we can all be great in our respective manner and we can all set our own standards and I encourage everybody to do that.”

To learn more about world-class swimmer Caeleb Dressel, follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and check out his official website.

For more information on the Cali Condors swimming team, check out their Facebook page and on Instagram.


caelebdressel Caeleb Dressel August 16, 1996 USA – 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist – 13-time World Champion – 5-time Current World Record Holder – 10-time NCAA Champion – 3-time College Swimmer of the Year Caeleb was raised in Green Cove Springs, Florida and began swimming at an early age. He trained with the Bolles School Sharks at the time which the club was referred to as a “dream team” and became the youngest swimmer to break 19 seconds in the 50 yard free. He went on the break many more records at the University of Florida where he competed from 2014-2018. Caeleb loves animals and has a black lab named Jane. Although he considers himself tone deaf, he still enjoys playing the drums and ukulele in his free time.

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Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 17,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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