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Behind the scenes with hometown Olympic Champ Caeleb Dressel

He's already smashing records, including a world record of Michael Phelps.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In Rio --- his very first Olympics -- Caeleb Dressel won two gold medals.

Then the Gator swimmer was the first man in American history to break 18 seconds in the 50 free at an NCAA meet.

Then this year Dressel made headlines around the planet at the World Championships in South Korea. He broke Michael Phelp's 100 fly world record. 

He's often called the most talented or the hottest male swimmer right now in the world.

But when he smashed that Phelps' world record, what was his own personal reaction?  "When my hand hit the wall," Dressel said, "I was already thinking how I could have done that race better."

He says he's not racing to be the next Phelps. He's competing with himself.

Asked if he ever remembers his mom or dad saying he should just try harder, Dressel said, "Oh, no!  Absolutely not."  

They weren't overly pushy parents, he says. 

Dressel's father is a veterinarian in Green Cove Springs, and both his parents are his #1 cheerleaders, always on the sidelines when he would swim at Clay High or in the Bolles swim program. His entire family was in Rio at the Olympics to support him.

Dressel is training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo at his Alma Mater, the University of Florida. His Olympic coach, the renowned Gregg Troy, says Dressel, at age 23, probably has three Olympics "left in him."

Coach Troy says Dressel has been making, what looks to the layman's eye, like tiny changes in his stroke. But just a slight adjustment in the angle of his fingers can be huge. 

Coach Troy says Dressel is a half-second faster now than he was two years ago in key races, which in those events is humongous -- a half-second is just under Michael Phelps world records.

Dressel's sponsors, including Speedo and Toyota, make sure he's in their brand names.  

Dressel just recently got a big surprise from Toyota.

A new red car. 

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Credit: Caeleb Dressel

"So Toyota surprised me with the Supra," Dressel said. 

He didn't know his entire family would be there, including his dog. 

"And my girlfriend brought Jane, my dog, and dressed her up in a Toyota shirt, which was way too baggy. But the photo's adorable," he said. 

As for his training food, Dressel says after a hard practice he does like pizza and wings. Most of the time, however, his favorite food is a "tuna fish sandwich." 

Dressel says he learned to have a strong faith from his family. Before major races, you can see him kneel down near the blocks with his head tucked in a prayer position.

"I don't pray about winning," he said. "I don't pray, 'Hey, get my hand to the wall first.' I thank him for the opportunity to do what I like." 

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