Caleb Dressel, after another break: “I’m happy not swimming, I’m working on being happy swimming again” | Sports

The last thing that is known about Caleb Dressel is that he left the world championship in Budapest on June 22 for “medical reasons”. It was a date he returned to after the fall and winter without wanting anything on the floor in his room. The psychologist helped him to control his depression. In Budapest, after changing coaches – leaving Greg Troy to join the team of former Olympic butterflyer and University of Florida head coach Anthony Nestin – he looked to recapture his good mood in the water, winning seven golds. He left without finishing the race and after winning two golds (50m butterfly and 4×100 freestyle). The United States Wrestling Federation released a statement to explain Dressel’s sudden dismissal, which had nothing to do with Covid. “After discussions with Caleb, the coaches and the medical staff, it has been decided that he will be withdrawn from the World Cup. Our priority is, and always has been, the health of our athletes and we will continue to provide the necessary support for Caleb’s speedy recovery.

Last night, the 26-year-old swimmer posted several photos of his summer on Instagram, one of which shows him happily on a red tractor. He said that he has not been able to swim since the World Cup and invited those who needed a break to take it. “I was never here. [en la red social], but I wanted to share what I did. I haven’t swam since the World Cup and I can say I’m happy not swimming. But I really miss it. I’ve done a lot in these few months: I finally went to Iceland, bought a tractor, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail. [una ruta de senderismo de unos 3.500 km]I swam with some sea cows. I know I can swim and have fun. I have had both at one point in my life and am working on it. If you need a break, take it. I’ll be back”.

Caleb Dressel after the 100 free heats at the world championships in Budapest in June.Antonio Bronic (Reuters)

Just as he did last fall, after confessing to reporter Graham Bensinger that he suffered from depression after the Tokyo Games, Dressel returned to normalcy about the importance of mental health. It needs to be cared for, worked on, and elite athletes are not machines that don’t feel or suffer. Michelle Phelps, who speaks in the documentary, has done it before, winning the most Olympic medals (28, 23 gold). Weight of gold [el peso del oro] The helplessness suffered by athletes, emotional and mental problems, depression. “More than 80 percent of athletes suffer from depression after competing in the Olympics. “We have to do something and this is important,” he said. One more vote with Simon Biles who stopped in Tokyo. Because I can’t. And you probably can’t. Even if your name is Biles or Phelps. That’s why your message and your wake-up call are so important.

There was no dross by the pool of the Duna Arena in Budapest’s Dressel: that boy was called to be the heir to Phelps with a carefree face, the superstar of the world, the man who won five gold medals in Tokyo, the highest honor, the clear horizon. To Paris 2024. It was shocking to see Dressel’s sometimes gloomy face in Hungary with David Popovici, 17 years old, eyes full of light and brilliance, innocent and gentle, the new king of speed, the man – well, the boy -. Who won the 100 and 200 free. And after a week in Rome, the Europeans in August 100. What is your limit? How will you cope with the pressure between now and Paris 2024? and then? It is also legal to ask.

Swimming requires hours and hours of training, sacrifice, and hard work. Like almost everyone, but in this case, as sports psychologists understand, it forces you to be alone with yourself because the only thing you see under your nose for hours and hours is a blue or white tile. And this is not always easy. It forces you to challenge yourself to try to regain your muscles for another round of training sessions, another race. To the adrenaline of high competition, to the emptiness felt after winning one of those golds. To find the motivation to continue training despite having drawers full of medals. the estimation of others. Although Dressel won five Olympic golds, he admitted that he did not win the finals in the 50 and 100.

In an interview with this newspaper, Federica Pellegrini said, swimmers are masochists, “We train hard for a year, at most to run.” It’s the fire inside you.” He ends up burning Dressel, who wants to return, but is happy.

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