Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel invites Graham to his farm and training grounds in Florida for a candid conversation about the extreme highs and lows that come with Olympic fame, including why he had to step away from the pool following the Tokyo Games. Sports Illustrated’s 2021 “Athlete of the Year” discusses what he learns from studying exotic animals, shares why he avoids comparisons to Michael Phelps and offers a lesson off the swim block. We also hear stories from his wife Meghan, mother Christina and long-time coach Gregg Troy.
Caeleb Dressel before Olympics: F***ing terrible. My body is done.
Caeleb Dressel discloses personal training logbook entries he’s saved for the last 10 years as he reads select, unfiltered reflections and self-criticisms after training sessions. Plus, he explains the benefits of tough love during contentious practices and what it feels like to truly improve.
Caeleb Dressel: Calming my anxiety by purging
Caeleb Dressel explores his obsessive habits, like off-roading, Pokemon and playing the drums. Dressel also reveals how purging his personal items helps to combat nerves and anxiety, so much so that he would strive to not have any extra items around the house. Dressel goes on to run through minimalist competitions with his older brother Tyler and says he doesn’t regret anything he’s thrown out or donated.
Caeleb Dressel on marriage proposal and ugly crying
Dressel reveals how swimming connected him with his now-wife, Meghan. He divulges he knew he wanted to marry Meghan as a high schooler, two months into their relationship and talks of his goals as a husband today. Plus, Meghan joins the conversation to share intimate details of Caeleb’s marriage proposal and her love for his tenderhearted persona.
Caeleb Dressel: Dad had my siblings confront my bully
Caeleb Dressel explains how a single blue bathroom and a 40-gallon water tank helped groom his competitive spirit. The seven-time Olympic gold medalist recounts suffering a year of bullying, which was eventually put to rest when his older siblings stepped in to threaten the bully with consequences for his actions. Later, Caeleb says he has his sister Kaitlyn to thank for her encouragement to push past hurdles and stick with swimming. Plus, we hear from both Caeleb’s mother Christina and father Michael, who offer their first-hand perspectives.
Caeleb Dressel on how pressures prompted panic attacks, depression
Caeleb Dressel candidly discusses the emotional obstacles that come with the territory when a fanbase and country place their lofty expectations on an individual. Caeleb remembers the immense pressures prompting panic attacks and even dark depression, which trapped him in his bedroom for months at a time. He goes on to share some of the tools that helped him recover, including an emphasis on patience and a reliance on his inner circle. We also hear from some of those in Caeleb’s inner circle, including his wife Meghan, mom Christina, dad Michael and former coach Gregg Troy.
Caeleb Dressel on former coach: I owe him everything
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel looks back on how his relationship with long-time coach Gregg Troy strengthened and evolved over their seven years together. Caeleb says he owes Coach Troy everything, but was fried after the Tokyo Olympics and needed a change to reinvigorate his training program. Both Caeleb and Coach Troy remember the pivotal conversation, which Caeleb says went surprisingly well and Coach remembers as “more sweet than bitter.”
Caeleb Dressel: Olympic postponement broke Ryan Lochte
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel looks back on COVID-19 postponing the Tokyo Olympics, including the highs and lows that came with the one-year delay. Dressel and his former coach Gregg Troy say that both Dressel and fellow Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte would have performed better in 2020, and that Lochte would have made the Olympic team if the Games proceeded as planned. Plus, Dressel’s wife Meghan joins the conversation to help illustrate some of the perks of the pandemic, including “white wine night” on Fridays.
Caeleb Dressel: Don’t compare me to Michael Phelps
Caeleb Dressel states his distaste for comparisons pitting his career up against Michael Phelps. Dressel calls Phelps the G.O.A.T. of their sport and clarifies that he’s faster than the G.O.A.T. within sprint/short course races. Plus, Dressel explains Ryan Lochte’s persona as a teammate and competitor, saying Lochte could beat him in practice when he really wanted to.
Caeleb Dressel: Profiting from authentic Toyota fandom
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel describes his connections to Toyota both before and after signing a sponsorship deal with the auto manufacturer, including his grandpa working for the company for years and taking deep internet dives into the 2022 launch of the Toyota Tundra Pro Hybrid. Plus, Dressel says his favorite part of the sponsorship is working alongside fellow Olympians and Paralympians.
Rapid fire with Caeleb Dressel: Speedo or board shorts?
2021 Sports Illustrated’s “Athlete of the Year” Caeleb Dressel offers quick takes when forced to choose between two options, including on swimming attire, vacation spots and musical instruments, among other choices.
Caeleb Dressel: The purchase that was worth every penny
2021 Sports Illustrated’s “Athlete of the Year” Caeleb Dressel explains how financial lessons from his father impact his spending habits today. Dressel explains why he thought his family was poor growing up – even though his father is a veterinarian – and how he and his wife Meghan agreed to splurge on a few items over the last year.
Caeleb and Meghan Dressel: Naming our 3 cows after Mean Girls
Caeleb Dressel and his wife Meghan offer a tour of their Florida farm home, including offering cookies to their three cows and pulling Caeleb’s gold medals out from hiding. Caeleb explains why he gifted his first individual Olympic gold medal to his former coach, Gregg Troy, who also sits down with Graham to share his side of the story. Plus, Caeleb flexes his musical talents with a couple ukuleles and a drum set.
Caeleb Dressel: Katie Ledecky’s humble gesture
Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel opens up on a variety of topics while driving from swim practice at the University of Florida back to his home outside of Gainesville. Dressel explains his tactics towards resisting complacency, “granting” permission to Katie Ledecky and his eventual plans to graduate college from the University of Florida – to finish what he started.
Caeleb Dressel: Studying dolphins, cheetahs to improve technique
2021 Sports Illustrated’s “Athlete of the Year” Caeleb Dressel invites us into his gym workout and later a training session in the pool. The seven-time gold Olympic gold medalist explains why his front teeth are fake, why he’ll never admit to peeing in the pool and how he’s – at times – held his breath to the point of passing out.
Caeleb Dressel: Sneaking my pet rat into restaurants
Caeleb Dressel explains the tight bond he and his family formed with his pet rat, Ellie. His mom Christina reveals Ellie was like a child for Caeleb and his now-wife Meghan, who would take Ellie everywhere… sometimes even sneaking the rat into restaurants. Plus, Caeleb shares when he bred Ellie with a male rat named Big Nuts, and how he later pawned the 16 babies off on swimming teammates.
Caeleb Dressel: When dad kicked terminal cancer
Caeleb Dressel calls his parents his role models. Specifically, he regards his mother Christina for her caring nature and his father Michael for his philosophical mindset. Later, Caeleb and Christina recall when Michael was diagnosed with terminal cancer, then endured six weeks of radiation and sent the disease into remission.
Behind the scenes: Spending the day with Caeleb and Meghan Dressel
Go behind-the-scenes with the In Depth crew during our day in and around Gainesville, Florida with seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel and his wife Meghan. Enjoy exclusive stories from the shoot, with everything from early call times and producer Brad oversleeping to honest post-interview reflections from Caeleb and Meghan… plus Graham’s belly flop and beef with an angry cow.