Olympic champion Dressel fails to qualify for world championships

Olympic champion Dressel fails to qualify for world championships

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel failed to qualify for this month’s World Aquatics Championships in Japan after more disappointing results at the U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis on Saturday.

In his final chance to make the U.S. team, Dressel finished tied for 22nd in the preliminaries of the 50-metre freestyle, 1.07 seconds behind the leader.

That capped a week that saw him finish third in the 50-metre butterfly, tied for fifth in the 100-metre butterfly and 19th in the 100-metre freestyle, all short of what was needed to make the worlds, which run from July 14-30 in Fukuoka.

Dressel’s struggles were not wholly unexpected as the 26-year-old has not competed in a major meet since abruptly pulling out of the world championships in Budapest last summer citing an unspecified health issue.

“He’s very happy where he’s at now,” University of Florida head coach Anthony Nesty was quoted as saying by SwimSwam on Saturday.

“Now we have a starting point and we can go from there. Obviously he wanted to do better, but for us, it’s just posting times that could improve upon.

“This is the first time I’ve seen him happy swimming in a long time, and a happy athlete is a fast athlete. Obviously, he’s not fast yet, but under the circumstances where he’s at, he did some good times.”

Nesty said Dressel is capable of getting off to excellent starts but struggles to close races.

“He lacks power,” Nesty said.

“He’s mentally where he needs to be, physically, not yet. But his strokes are good. He’s felt good in all his strokes… now we just need to get a full year of training and weights in and he’ll be okay.”

Team USA will hope Dressel can regain the form that saw him win five gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics before the Paris Games next summer.

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