Caeleb Dressel is the undisputed favourite in the 50m freestyle final on Sunday.© AFP
American powerhouse Caeleb Dressel admitted he was hurting after smashing his own world record to win the men’s Olympic 100m butterfly title Saturday for his third gold medal of the Tokyo Games. The two-time world champion touched in 49.45 seconds to better his own world best 49.50 set at the 2019 world championships. Hungarian 200m fly champion Kristof Milak was second in 49.68 — only the fourth man ever to go under 50 seconds — and Noe Ponti of Switzerland third in 50.74. “It was a really fun race to be a part of and exciting for the sport,” said Dressel.
“It was well executed, my body wasn’t as good as it could have been, it was the body I was given on this day, I felt better yesterday.
“It hurt really bad but it was fine,” he added. “I knew what my race plan was and stuck to it, got the job done. What a close race. Two of the fastest times in history.
“You don’t get that very often so to be a part of that is very special. The event is only going to get faster. I’m aware of that and it’s just exciting that it took a world record to win.”
Dressel was always the man to beat, having set the third fastest time ever in the heats with no other active swimmer before the final close to his world record.
It was the fourth new world mark in the Tokyo pool, with a fifth set later in the morning session when Britain crushed the old mixed 4x100m medley relay time.
Dressel’s was only the second individual one after South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker beat the long-standing 200m breaststroke mark on Friday.
Australia’s women set a new benchmark in the 4x100m freestyle relay, as did China in the women’s 4x200m relay.
Dressel could still claim two more gold, having already won the 100m freestyle crown and helped the US team clinch the 4x100m relay title.
He is the undisputed favourite in the 50m freestyle final on Sunday and is expected to back up and swim the 4x100m men’s medley relay, the final Olympic swimming event.
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