Star American swimmer Caeleb Dressel says comparing him to Michael Phelps is not fair to Michael Phelps

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Star American swimmer Caeleb Dressel says comparing him to Michael Phelps is not fair to Michael Phelps
Caeleb Dressel has goals beyond chasing Olympics; Matthias Schrader/AP Images
  • Caeleb Dressel doesn't think he should be compared to Michael Phelps.
  • Dressel called Phelps a better swimmer and said he has other goals beyond chasing Phelps.
  • Dressel said he doesn't even keep his medals, saying he revels in the thrill of racing instead.

U.S. Olympic swimmer Caeleb Dressel has earned comparisons to Michael Phelps, but he shuns them.

The 24-year-old Dressel on Wednesday took home the gold medal in the men's 100-meter freestyle, breaking the Olympic record in the process.

Dressel now has two gold medals in Tokyo and has a chance for four more with the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 4x100-meter medley relay, and the 4x100-meter mixed relay.

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With such a packed, diverse slate, and several world and Olympic records already in hand, Dressel could reasonably target Phelps' throne. Instead, he told NBC that he doesn't think they should be compared.

"I don't think it's fair to Michael," Dressel said.. "He's a better swimmer than me. I'm completely fine with saying that. That's not my goal in the sport, to beat Michael. I'm a very different athlete than Michael. He was at a whole other level."

Star American swimmer Caeleb Dressel says comparing him to Michael Phelps is not fair to Michael Phelps
Caeleb Dressel and Michael Phelps at the 2016 Olympics. David J. Phillip/AP Images
Dressel said he doesn't mind if others make the comparison to Phelps, but he doesn't like to stack himself up to the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

"I'm fine if people want to compare me to him," Dressel said. "I have some goals that I would like to accomplish to where I can consider myself to be great, and I don't have to compare myself to Michael to consider myself to be great."

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As Dressel elaborated in the interview, those goals don't have much to do with medal counts.

"If I learn something from the meet to move forward into next year, if I learn something about myself, as a man, as a person, as an athlete, as a swimmer, I'll be happy with it," Dressel said on what would make the Tokyo Olympics successful for him.

He added that he doesn't even keep his medals.

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"It's not about that for me, I don't keep any of that stuff," Dressel said, adding: "I get to enjoy the race. I don't need a piece of medal to remind me of that. "

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