Caeleb Dressel is pretty much invincible when he has a lane to himself.
But give him a deficit of more than 8 seconds?
Well, that’s too much for even the world’s greatest swimmer to overcome with two laps of the pool.
On a morning of mixed emotions and chaotic racing at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Dressel set a world record in the 100-meter butterfly, but was basically doomed before he even dove into the pool on the new mixed relay last Saturday.
So went his chances of joining a very exclusive club. His bid to win six gold medals fell apart with another U.S. relay debacle.
The Americans were too far behind in the 4×100-meter mixed medley when their top swimmer took over, so the best Dressel could do was rally the U.S. to a fifth-place finish in an event that features two men and two women on each team.
Britain set a world record to win the gold.
It was a disappointing day for the Americans.
Dressel is now back in the United States and appears to have put the disappointment behind him.
He posed for photographs with teammates at a photocall in New York.
Reflecting on the failure to win a sixth gold medal, Dressel said: “None of the races were clean, that’s just something that’s part of our sport at the moment. It’s a shame.”
He added: “I can only control what I can control, and I know at the end of the day know I am not a cheater and I can focus on myself getting better.”