‘It was not easy’: Caeleb Dressel wins three titles in one night at swim worlds

Dressel won three gold medals in a span of about two hours Saturday night, duplicating his achievement from two years ago in Budapest

Caeleb Dressel made history again at the world swimming championships.

The American won three gold medals in a span of about two hours Saturday night, duplicating his achievement from two years ago in Budapest, Hungary.

Dressel has six golds and seven medals overall with one night remaining in the meet. He tied Michael Phelps record of seven medals all gold at a single worlds in 2017.

It was not easy in 17, it was not easy this year, the 22-year-old Floridian said. I dont want it to be easy, I really dont.

He capped his exceptional night by leading off the victorious mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Dressel joined Zach Apple, Mallory Comerford and Simone Manuel in setting a world record of 3 minutes, 19.40 seconds.

That lowered the mark of 3:19.60 set at the 2017 worlds.

Manuel dueled with Australian anchor Bronte Campbell over the final 50. The American swam it in 52 seconds to Campbells 52.36 to keep Dressel golden.

Dressel opened the evening with a win in the 50 free to complete a 50-100 free sweep. He touched in 21.04 seconds, bettering the championship record of 21.08 set by Brazils Cesar Cielo at the 2009 worlds in Rome during the height of the rubber suit era.

Bruno Fratus of Brazil and Kristian Gkolomeev of Greece tied for silver in 21.45.

Coming back just 34 minutes later, Dressel won the 100 fly in 49.66 a night after breaking Phelps world record in the semi-finals.

On his three trips to the podium, Dressel tied a bandanna belonging to a late high school mentor onto the ribbon holding his medal. He stood with his right hand over his heart for the US anthem.

Katie Ledecky won her first gold medal in her final event of an illness-plagued worlds, rallying on the last lap to claim the 800 free.

The American led the first seven laps before Simona Quadarella took over. The Italian was in front the next seven laps before it all came down to the final 50 meters.

Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi)

Heart of a champion indeed. Katie Ledecky, coming back from illness, passes Simona Quadarella in the last 50 meters of the 800m final, swimming 1.59 seconds faster than the Italian on the last length for her eighth straight major int’l title in the event. pic.twitter.com/MItVSqu0tH

July 27, 2019

Simona was having a great race and pulled up right next to me, Ledecky said. When she did that I kind of felt like I could stick with her and rely on my speed, so just tried to stay calm, relaxed from the 500 to the 750.

Thats when Ledecky turned on the jets and completed the last lap in 29.19 seconds to Quadarellas 30.76.

Just put my legs into it and got my hand to the wall, she said.

Ledecky won in 8:13.58. Quadarella, who won the 1,500 free in Ledeckys absence, took silver in 8:14.99.

Ariarne Titmus of Australia earned bronze in 8:15.70. Titmus stunned Ledecky to win the 400 free on the first night before the American got sick and withdrew from the 200 free preliminaries and 1,500 final.

Ledecky took silvers in the 400 free and 4×200 free relay.

Regan Smith, Dressels 17-year-old teammate, won the 200 backstroke in 2:03.69, the second-fastest time in history.

To be 2:03 two nights in a row, I was super, super stoked, Smith said.

She set the world record of 2:03.55 in Fridays semi-finals and was on pace to lower it again before fading on the last lap.

I really went for it on the first hundred, Smith said. It hurt really bad going home, but Im really glad that I gave it my all two nights in a row.

Smith still finished a whopping 2.57 seconds ahead of Kaylee McKeown of Australia.

Kylie Masse of Canada took bronze.

Swedens Sarah Sjostrom won the 50 butterfly in 25.02 for her first gold and fourth medal overall.

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