2020 Tokyo Olympics: The Game Caeleb Dressel Taught Teammates to Play During Downtime

by Madison Miller

Amongst all of the exceptionally talented athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Caeleb Dressel has been one to absolutely dominate the headlines.

He has helped lead Team USA swimming to a tremendous conclusion in Tokyo, becoming an American hero of sorts in the process.

During his run at the Olympics, Dressel has earned five gold medals, two world records, and two Olympic records. He is now in the same category as both swimming legends Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz.

Dressel as a Poker Teacher

As of now, he is one of the world’s greatest swimmers, he has a large weight to carry. However, given just how fast he is in the pool, Caeleb Dressel didn’t spend all of his time swimming while at the Tokyo Olympics.

According to People, Caeleb Dressler spent some of his extra time fostering team spirit with his fellow U.S. swimming athletes. A lot of it had to do with learning how to play poker together.

“This was one of my highlights and this just goes to showcase the uniqueness of USA swimming … We were teaching [the women] how to play and we were I guess the coaches. … Just moments like that, it’s so much fun. They always clapped for each other after every hand. Moments like that, all the moments at camp where we really become Team USA,” Caeleb Dressel said.

The team all bonded at a camp that occurs prior to the Games. It was a 17-day training session held in Hawaii earlier in July. Although the Olympics often feel like watching the success of individual athletes, it’s still a team effort through and through. Not only does the U.S. gain medals together, but the camaraderie helps build confidence that creates a winning attitude.

“You become Team USA when you’re teaching some of the girls to play poker or you’re getting food someplace in Hawaii together. It’s the stupid little moments, it’s not the big moments that are caught on cameras, it’s the stuff you guys don’t see. And that’s what makes this team so unique,” Dressel added.

Caeleb Dressel Journey to Olympics

Caeleb Dressel is only 24 years old, however, he’s spent the better part of his life in the pool hoping to one day break records and swim in front of millions.

Despite years of training, the Olympics come and go in what can feel like a blink of an eye. Then it’s another four-year wait.

“With an extra year, it’s a five-year buildup—or a 24-year buildup, whatever you want to call it—there’s so much pressure in the moment. Your whole life boils down to a moment that will take 20-40 seconds. How crazy is that? And it’s every four years. I wouldn’t tell myself that during the meet, but it’s terrifying. A lot of it boils down to a very precise moment in the universe, and that just happens to be the Olympics,” Caeleb Dresel said to Sports Illustrated.

Similar to other athletes this year, Dressel has helped shed light on just how nerve-wracking and pressure-filled life as an Olympic athlete can be.