U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel narrowly beat Australia’s Kyle Chalmers to claim his first-ever individual Olympic gold medal.
Dressel set an Olympic record in the blazing fast two-lap race with a time of 47.02 seconds to dethrone charging Australian defending champion Kyle Chalmers, who came second (47.08).
Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov took the bronze in 47.44. At the end, he smiled and raised both hands in the air, taking in the applause of his teammates at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
The 24-year-old sprinter won a gold medal in the 4×100 meter relay at these Olympics, and put up an even faster time in the 100 meter today. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, Dressel was part of the gold medal-winning relay team in the same event.
Caeleb Dressel said: “It’s been a really tough year, really hard. I’m really happy.”
Dressel missed out on the individual medals at Rio in 2016, but he has since exploded, winning an incredible 13 titles over the past two world championships.
“I wasn’t worried about anything.
“During the race there’s only so much you can do. Whatever’s gonna happen is going to happen.
“I stuck to my race plan — if it got me first, OK, if it got me second OK. I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.
It was Dressel’s second gold in Tokyo after spearheading the United States to the 4x100m relay title on Monday. He will also race the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly, and could feature in two other relays.
But it was his first individual title at an Olympics after two relay golds in Rio, a feat he was proud to achieve.
“I didn’t want to admit it but now I did it I can admit it; it’s a lot different.
“You can’t rely on anyone else. It’s just you in the water; there’s no one there to bail you out. It’s tough. It’s really tough. So I’m happy to actually do it,” he said.