BUDAPEST, Hungary — Caeleb Dressel’s world swimming championships are over with just two gold medals from Budapest.
USA Swimming withdrew its star male swimmer from the rest of the competition for unspecified medical reasons on Wednesday.
“He’s just not fit to compete right now. And so we just needed to make that decision. It needed to be a quick decision,” American team manager Lindsay Mintenko told journalists.
Mintenko said she could not be more specific about the reasons for Dressel’s withdrawal, but that he may decide to speak about it himself. She declined to say whether it was a mental or physical problem. Dressel had appeared in good shape.
He had pulled out of Tuesday’s semifinals in the 100 freestyle and it wasn’t clear at the time if he’d be able to continue. He was also due to race the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly later in the worlds.
“He obviously has a lot of events left. And so it was a quick decision that we made in conjunction with him and our medical staff and the coaches,” Mintenko said. “It’s the right decision and especially for Caeleb’s long-term health. And that’s ultimately what we’re here for, for the health of our athletes.”
For the 25-year-old Dressel – a seven-time Olympic gold medalist – it’s a big blow.
“Caeleb has worked really hard for this,” Mintenko said. “Any time you come to a world championships or any big competition, international competition, and if you can’t compete, it’s very difficult. And so we’re just going to take it one day at a time. We have a wonderful team here with us. We’re doing exceptionally well and really looking forward to the next few days.”
Dressel’s teammates responded Tuesday by adding three more gold medals to take the team’s tally to 10. He had claimed gold in the 50 butterfly on Sunday, a day after helping the United States win the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
“Feels good to get the first individual (gold) out of the way,” said Dressel, who didn’t know it would be his last in this competition.
Also Wednesday, Australian swimmer Shayna Jack broke her hand in training and will miss the rest of the worlds.
She was warming up for the morning’s 100-meter freestyle heats at the time.
The 23-year-old Jack helped Australia to gold in the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay on Saturday and silver in the mixed 4x100 medley relay on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Siobhán Haughey, the Olympic silver medalist in the women’s 100, also withdrew on Monday due to an ankle injury.
Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan was fastest in 100 qualifying in their absence, followed by Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, Torri Huske of the U.S., and world record holder Sarah Sjöström.
Four-time Olympic medalist Chad Le Clos withdrew from the men’s competition Monday. The South African said on social media that he had been struggling with his breathing for the previous three weeks “since having multiple stints of bronchitis.”
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