Caeleb Dressel Makes Night For Young Look-Alike Fan at U.S. Trials

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Caeleb Dressel Makes Night For Young Look-Alike Fan at U.S. Trials

On Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Caeleb Dressel added his second event for the Olympic Games in Tokyo that start in 31 days. Dressel has had the spotlight on him in the sport of swimming since the 2017 World Championships – specifically the night he won three gold medals and nearly broke Michael Phelps’ world record in the 100 butterfly.

Dressel has never been one to chase the spotlight, and oftentimes he has resented it. Whenever he is asked a question about his legacy or about chasing the greatness laid down by Phelps or training partner Ryan Lochte, he has often brushed it off and simply states he just wants to figure out how to swim faster.

But as he has gotten older and wiser, he has understood his status as a role model in the sport of swimming.

At his final NCAA meet in 2018, Dressel was seen talking to the kid volunteers on deck at the University of Minnesota. It wasn’t a publicity stunt. The cameras weren’t even on him. He viewed talking to the kids as a way to calm his nerves before his swims, but also a chance to just talk and “meet some new friends.”

On Saturday night in Omaha, Kaitlin Sandeno interviewed a young fan in the stands, who had drawn on tattoos that matched Dressel’s ink for ink, with the Olympic rings on his right forearm, and the full sleeve on his left. When Dressel got word of the young fan, he ran out to greet him.

Dressel took a few minutes to pose for pictures with the boy, who is 8-year-old Sutton Hansen from St. Petersburg Aquatics in central Florida, about three hours away from Dressel’s hometown. Simply, it was an instance of Dressel recognizing the importance of connecting with fans and being an ambassador for the sport. The subsequent picture has 55,000 likes on USA Swimming’s Instagram page, but Dressel never did it for clout. That is just who he is.

After making his second Olympic team for the 100 freestyle, Dressel went over to hug his family seated in the front row of the CHI Health Center. Before he went over to do his NBC interview, he paused a second to sign a swim cap for some young fans in the front row behind the blocks. After the awards ceremony of the 50 free on the final night, Dressel took the time to talk to fans and take pictures on his victory lap on the lane eight side of the pool.

On the road to Tokyo, Dressel is the face of USA Swimming’s men’s team, and he has a built large following, in-part to his genuine ability to connect with fans, as well as his speed in the pool. But when all is said and done, Dressel’s legacy, which is far from being finalized, will have moments like these draped all over it.

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