BUDAPEST, Hungary — Caeleb Dressel’s World Aquatics Championships ended with just two gold medals in Budapest.
USA Swimming pulled its star male swimmer from the rest of the competition on Wednesday for unspecified medical reasons.
“He’s not fit to play right now. So we just have to make this decision. It’s going to be a quick decision,” Team USA manager Lindsay Mintenko told reporters.
Mintenko said she couldn’t be more specific about the reasons for Dressel’s withdrawal, but he might decide to talk about it himself. She declined to say whether it was a mental or physical problem. Dressel looked in good shape.
He had already dropped out of Tuesday’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals, and it was unclear at the time whether he would be able to continue. He will also compete in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly in the later stages of the world.
“He obviously has a lot to do. So it was a quick decision we made with him, our medical staff and the coach,” Mintenko said. “It was the right decision, especially for Caeleb’s long-term health. That’s ultimately what we’re here for, for the health of our athletes.”
It was a huge blow for Dressel, 25, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist.
“Caeleb worked hard on this,” says Mintenko. “Anytime you come to the world championships or any big game, international competition, it’s very difficult if you can’t play. So we’re going to take it one day at a time. We’ve got a great team here. We’ve done it. Very good, very much looking forward to the next few days.”
Dressel’s teammates responded Tuesday by adding three more gold medals to bring the team’s total to 10. He won 50 butterfly gold on Sunday, a day after helping the United States win the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.
“It feels good to get the first individual (gold),” said Dressel, who didn’t know it would be his last at this event.
Also on Wednesday, Australian swimmer Sheena Jack broke her hand in training and will miss the rest of the world.
She was warming up for the morning 100-meter freestyle.
Jack, 23, helped Australia win gold in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay on Saturday and silver in the 4×100 medley relay on Tuesday.
Olympic silver medallist in the women’s 100m, Hong Kong’s Siobhán Haughey also retired Monday with an ankle injury.
Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan was the fastest runner in the 100 qualifying races in their absence, followed by Canada’s Penny Oleksiak, USA’s Torri Huske and world record holder Sarah Sjöström.
Four-time Olympic medalist Chad Le Clos withdrew from the men’s competition on Monday. The South African said on social media that he had been struggling to breathe for the past three weeks “because of repeated bronchitis”.
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