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Caeleb Dressel leads U.S. to victory in men’s 4x100-meter freestyle relay

The former Florida Gator gave the Americans a lead they never relinquished, swimming the first leg in a blistering 47.26 seconds.
Members of the United States men's 4x100m freestyle relay team, from left, Bowen Beck, Blake Pieroni, and Caeleb Dressel, celebrate after winning the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday in Tokyo, Japan.
Members of the United States men's 4x100m freestyle relay team, from left, Bowen Beck, Blake Pieroni, and Caeleb Dressel, celebrate after winning the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday in Tokyo, Japan. [ MATTHIAS SCHRADER | AP ]
Published Jul. 26

Caeleb Dressel led off an American victory in the men’s 4x100-meter freestyle relay. Dressel gave the U.S. a lead it never relinquished, swimming the first leg in a blistering 47.26 seconds.

The U.S. won gold in 3 minutes, 08.97 seconds, the third-fastest relay in history. Italy took the silver in 3:10.11, with the bronze going to Australia in 3:10.22.

Dressel put the U.S. out front, and the three who followed him in the relay made sure it stood up.

“I felt good the whole way, I knew I had to get my hand in the wall first and get some clean water,” Dressel said. “And everyone did their job. It’s a relay for a reason, it’s four guys for a reason, it’s certainly not just me. It’s certainly not just one guy.”

The 24-year-old, tattooed Floridian swam the first leg in a blistering 47.26. Blake Pieroni and Bowe Becker kept the Americans out front before Zach Apple turned in an anchor leg of 46.69 to leave no doubt at the end.

“The scariest part was my leg for myself, because I had control over that,” Dressel said. “I knew they were going to get the job done, I wasn’t scared at all. Especially when Zach hit the water. I saw him break out and I knew it was over.”

Apple climbed from the pool to an embrace from Dressel, who is set for a grueling schedule of three individual events and three relays in Tokyo.

One down, five to go.