22-Year-Old American Could Be the Next Michael Phelps

Caeleb Dressel is expected to have a shot at eight golds in 2020

Caeleb Dressel at the TYR Pro Swim Series in 2019. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
Caeleb Dressel at the TYR Pro Swim Series in 2019. (Patrick Smith/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / July 16, 2019 10:53 am

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps left the pools of Beijing with a record-breaking eight gold medals.

Thought to be unbreakable, that record is now in danger just 12 year later thanks to 22-year-old American swimmer Caeleb Dressel. The heir apparent to Phelps, Dressel is expected to have a shot at eight golds at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in four individual events and four relay races. 

For his part, Dressel is playing down the comparisons to the man who once raced a computer-generated shark

“I don’t even think it can be put on one person,” Dressel told The Wall Street Journal. “I don’t care about being the next whatever. If there was just me and swimming, and swimming fast, I’d be fine with that and just ignoring everything else. So that’s what I try to do.”

Phelps is now retired and his longtime rival Ryan Lochte, who just finished a 14-month ban from swimming, is unlikely to compete for multiple medals even if the 35-year-old is able to make his fifth Olympic team.

Dressel, who won 10 individual titles while attending the University of Florida, won two gold medals in relays at the 2016 Olympics. He will next compete at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea starting Sunday.

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