At 5:43 p.m. Central European Time, Caeleb Dressel plunged into the pool for the first world championship final of a night that made history in Hungary.
At 6:15, he did it again.
At 7:25, he did it again.
Three races. Three more gold medals to load onto the flight back to Green Cove Springs.
In the space of one hour and 42 minutes, Dressel rewrote the record books of international swimming.
The former Clay High School swimmer captured his fourth, fifth and sixth gold medals - the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and the 4x100 mixed free relay - on a sensational Saturday at the FINA world championships in Budapest, Hungary.
He’s the first man ever to win three gold medals in a world championship night, and the first to win the 100 at worlds in both freestyle and butterfly.
Former Bolles School swimmer Joseph Schooling also earned bronze in the 100 fly, which he won at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
But the day belonged to Dressel, who now holds the undisputed title as the world’s top sprinter.
Dressel has already won more gold medals at the meet than every other entire national team. Great Britain ranks second with four.
And on Sunday, if he achieves victory with the favored United States squad in the concluding 4x100 medley relay, he will tie Michael Phelps’ all-time record with his seventh gold of a single world championship.
The only other American men to win seven medals of any color are Matt Biondi in 1986 and Phelps in 2007 and 2011. Of those, only Phelps, in 2007, brought home seven golds.
Dressel’s day started in the 50 free, the fastest and often the least predictable event in the sport.
He seized the lead off the block with his rapid launch, holding off Bruno Fratus of Brazil and Ben Proud of Great Britain in an American-record 21.15.
Some 34 minutes later, he followed by swimming away with the 100 fly, a race that was never in doubt.
Dressel led wire-to-wire in a time of 49.86, the second-fastest 100 fly ever and just four-hundredths of a second off Phelps’ world record from 2009.
He finished 0.76 seconds ahead of Hungarian teenager Kristof Milak, the largest margin of victory in a world 100 final since American Ian Crocker won by 1.25 seconds in 2005.
Schooling tied with Great Britain’s James Guy for bronze at 50.83.
Dressel became the fourth American man to win three individual gold medals at one world championship, joining Tim Shaw (1975), Phelps (2003 and 2007) and Ryan Lochte (2011).
An hour and a medal ceremony later, he ended his day in the mixed free relay.
Dressel led off Nathan Adrian, Mallory Comerford and Simone Manuel on a United States team that swam 3:19.60 to shatter the world record ahead of the Netherlands and Canada.
Now, only Sunday’s medley relay stands between Dressel and gold number seven.
He is expected to swim the butterfly on the third leg, along with Adrian on freestyle, Kevin Cordes on breaststroke and either veteran Matt Grevers or Dressel’s former Bolles Sharks teammate Ryan Murphy on backstroke.
Great Britain, led by breaststroke record-holder Adam Peaty, and a well-balanced Russia appear to be the primary threats.
The Americans’ recent record in the medley relay is strong. The United States won the event at the 2015 world championships and the 2016 Olympics.
You can read the original TU article here.