Day in the Life: Caeleb Dressel, Swimmer
Keep an eye out for Caeleb Dressel in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games! Dressel is a swimming phenom with sprinting prowess (Swim Swam, n.d.). He is going to compete in the freestyle and butterfly events (Martinelli, 2020). Interestingly, swimming finesse runs in his family, as his three siblings are all competitive swimmers as well. Over the years, Dressel has been smashing records with his speedy strokes, starting from when he was a youngster. For instance, he became the new record holder for the boys’ 13-14 National Age Group in the 50-meter freestyle back at the 2011 Junior National Championships in Palo Alto. Fast forward to 2017. At the Fina World Championships, Dressel notched a total of seven gold medals, tying Michael Phelps’ record for the highest number of gold medals attained at World Championships (SwimSwam, n.d.).
In the Tokyo 2020 Games, Dressel will likely swim six or seven events (including relays) and could very well earn medals in every event (Olympic Talk, 2021). While Phelps’ record of achieving eight gold medals in just one Olympics will still be beyond reach for Dressel, he is poised to make a significant splash in Tokyo (Kumar, 2021). Submerged into the depths, will Dressel come out victorious on the other side? Time will tell, but we’re cheering for this member of Team USA!
Note: Photo in Caeleb’s “O” from Caeleb’s Instagram.
Caeleb Dressel’s Daily Routine
Striving for “Less is More”
As a high-performing athlete, Dressel finds that he can easily fall into the trap of trying to achieve too much in one day. To combat this, he strives to accomplish three main goals each day. Below, Dressel explains his everyday approach for getting things done (Lawrence, 2019).
“I like to aim for three objectives per day. I have this habit where I will just go and go and go and try to get as much done as I can, and I’ll just start making stuff up to do, so I try to limit myself. It lets me go to bed feeling like I’ve gotten a lot accomplished.” ~Caeleb Dressel (Lawrence, 2019)
Hour-by-Hour Day Plan
Below is Dressel’s typical day plan. Note that this daily routine is from March 2020, right before the pandemic hit fully in the United States (Martinelli, 2020). At certain points of the pandemic, Dressel had to alter his typical schedule, as he was more limited in the amount of time he could train (My SwimPro, n.d.).
7 a.m.—Wake up and consume carbs (e.g., bagel, toast, or oatmeal)
7:30 a.m.—Drive to practice
8 a.m.—Carry out first swim practice
10:00 a.m.—Grab a snack (e.g., chocolate milk or a bar)
10:30 a.m.—Lift weights
12:30 p.m.—Drive home
1:00 p.m.—Eat “breakfast-lunch” (late breakfast or early lunch; a balanced meal)
2:00 p.m.—Take a nap
3:00 p.m.—Fuel up with more food before practice
4:00 p.m.—Leave for afternoon practice
5:00 p.m.—Carry out second practice
7:00 p.m.—Drive home
7:30 p.m.—Eat dinner
8:30 p.m.—Relax with wife or play video games with friends
9:30 p.m.—Read or journal
10:30 p.m.—Go to bed (Martinelli, 2020)
Eating at Frequent, Regular Intervals
Because Dressel expends so much energy in his training, both in and out of the water, he consumes food frequently to quite literally stay afloat and get the energy he needs to perform well. He likens himself to a horse, noting, “I just kind of eat throughout the day, so I’m not ever hungry. I don’t want to go to practice hungry.” He relies on his own body to tell him when he’s had enough to eat, and refrains from counting calories. With that said, he estimates that he may very well consume up to 8,000-10,000 calories per day, in the same ballpark as Michael Phelps, though this amount does sound high to him. He’s a big fan of meatloaf for dinner after a long day of intense athletic output (Martinelli, 2020).
Making Unwinding a Priority
Since Dressel has to fully engage his mind and body for two swimming practices and one weight-lifting session per day, he is rather drained of energy at the end of the day. Following dinnertime, he makes it a priority to set swimming aside and transfer his focus to calm leisure activities in which he doesn’t have to use his brain in an intense way. Below, Dressel explains how necessary it is for him to unwind as the day comes to a close (Martinelli, 2020).
“Practice does take a lot out of me mentally because I have to be on it for every stroke, every turn, every breakout. Anything I do, I want to be as focused as I can, so by the time practice is done, I’m kind of physically and mentally fried. So I just want to go and not think about anything for maybe 30 minutes to an hour.” ~Caeleb Dressel (Martinelli, 2020)
At night, Dressel enjoys spending time with his wife or playing video games with his friends (Martinelli, 2020). He also finds solace in reading or journaling before climbing into bed to get at least eight hours of shuteye (Martinelli, 2020).
Strengthening His Physical and Mental State
In addition to boosting his mental health by setting aside time each day to relax, Dressel consistently carries out everyday, ordinary tasks that help him achieve physical and mental wellness, such as drinking plenty of water, eating healthily, and making his bed. He also works on adjusting his mental attitude when it comes to swimming, so that he can make the most of his practices, push himself beyond his limits, and be an encouragement to his teammates (MySwimPro, n.d.).
Sharing His Knowledge with Others
In September of 2020, Dressel launched an online course to equip swimmers with technical knowledge and empower them with mental training. It was called “Piece-by-Piece” and included 11 real-time half-hour sessions that spoke to the different attributes or “pieces” of a skillful swimmer. You can still purchase a replay of the course at this link (MySwimPro, n.d.).
Furthermore, on his YouTube channel, Dressel has posted “Dressel Dissect” videos, where he takes an in-depth look at his past races. In these videos, he not only breaks down his technical performance but also discusses his feelings before, during, and following these races (MySwimPro, n.d.). He does all of this in a very genuine and down-to-earth manner.
It’s wonderful to see this Olympian give back to the swimming community by sharing his knowledge with them in these ways!
We’re stoked (or, should we say, “stroked”?) to follow Dressel on his Olympics journey this year and beyond, and we wish him all the best as he plunges into the Tokyo waters!
Kumar, A. (2021, June 11). Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, Nathan Adrian, Simone Manuel: The athletes to watch at the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials in swimming. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/31605038/athletes-watch-2021-us-olympic-trials-swimming
Lawrence, B. (2019, January 24). A day in the life: Caeleb Dressel’s recipe for success includes puppy training, downtime and (a lot of) food. TeamUSA. https://www.teamusa.org/News/2019/January/24/A-Day-In-The-Life-Caeleb-Dressels-Recipe-For-Success-Includes-Puppy-Training-Downtime-And-Food
Martinelli, M. (2020, March 5). Inside an Olympic swimmer’s intense training regimen ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. USA Today Sports. https://ftw.usatoday.com/2020/03/swimming-olympics-caeleb-dressel-training-florida
MySwimPro. (n.d.). Caeleb Dressel shares training schedule & new online course I The #AskASwimPro Show. https://myswimpro.com/blog/2020/09/08/caeleb-dressel-shares-training-schedule-new-online-course-the-askaswimpro-show/
Olympic Talk. (2021, June 17). Caeleb Dressel qualifies for Tokyo at Olympic Trials ahead of potentially historic summer. NBCSports. https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2021/06/17/caeleb-dressel-olympic-swimming-trials-tokyo/
SwimSwam. (n.d.). Caeleb Dressel. https://swimswam.com/bio/caeleb-dressel/
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