Omega

The peak of a swimming career is the Olympics, and few have done the Olympics better than Caeleb Dressel. One of the true stars of the Tokyo Games, the 24-year-old Floridian’s success can be measured both in weight (five gold medals, to be exact) and time, including world records in the 100 meters. fly and 4-by-relay in the 100-meter medley with a 0.48 second margin of victory in the 50-meter freestyle final, which is the largest for the event in Olympic history. But despite his intimate relationship with the clock, he tells The Manual that he was never much of a watchmaker until luxury watch maker Omega approached him about a partnership.

“I was blown away by the different styles and the fact that there is something that matches everyone’s personality,” Dressel told The Manual. “When I picked up my watch in Hawaii, I found the one that suited me perfectly. I know that the quality of Omega watches is on another level.

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Omega watches, made in Switzerland since 1848, are an ideal partner for Dressel. They, like him, are available coated in gold, and they have both speed and aquatic specialties. The company’s Speedmaster line, which stems from a racing pedigree, has a chronograph with crisp clarity worthy of a man whose sport is measured in hundredths of a second. (There’s also the fact that it was Buzz Aldrin’s brand of choice as he walked on the moon, which is sort of an otherworldly record.) But there’s also the Seamaster line, a collection focused on diving that is rated at 500 feet under surveillance.

So what does an amphibious Olympic champion choose who needs speed? Well, a bit of both.

“Right now I’m wearing a Seamaster Diver 300M in gold and stainless steel,” says Dressel. Yes, he knows all about his ocean lineage (Omega has long sponsored crews and sailing races, and is the official timekeeper of the America’s Cup 2021 yacht race). But it was the mix of racing and diving lines that ultimately led to his selection: “It’s also a chronograph, so design is a matter of precision timing,” he continues. “That’s all I want in a watch.”

Team USA's Caeleb Dressel competes in the men's 100m butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

While Dressel has yet to hang up his glasses – at the time of our conversation he was already planning the third season of the International Swimming League, which takes place at Piscina Felice Scandone in Naples, Italy from August 26 to September 30. – with at the end of a near perfect Olympic Games, including becoming the first man to win the legendary “Triple Sprint Crown” of 50 meters freestyle, 100 meters freestyle and 100 meters fly, there is plenty be grateful. So we ask: To whom and with what would he offer his thanks for the support during his formative years?

That’s an easy answer: his wife, Meghan. What about watches? “You can’t go wrong with a Speedmaster Moonwatch,” he says. “It was the first watch ever worn on the moon, so to mark a momentous occasion, it’s a very good one. It’s also a timeless design, so you can wear it forever. It is as beautiful as in 1969.

But more than gifts and, yes, even water, the first thing on Dressel’s mind is to come home to Florida and spend some quality time with his wife which has been scarce over the years. past year and focus on the Olympics. Even now, he remembers the raw emotion that ran through him as he watched his reaction to his gold in the 100-meter freestyle. “Meghan is a big part of my success and her support really gives me strength in competition,” he says. “I can’t wait to spend some time together, just the two of us, when we can finally enjoy our postponed honeymoon and talk about something other than swimming.”

There are mistakes he made, including, oddly enough, in his 100-meter world record. “The tour and the finish [were] bad enough, ”he says. And America’s disastrous strategy in the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay, in which a slow third stage saw him dive eight seconds behind the leader – an insurmountable gap, even for him, that ultimately ended his candidacy to join the rarefied air of Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Kristin Otto in winning six gold medals in a single Olympics – has drawn his rare public criticism of American coaches in the press. But while Dressel looks back on his Olympic experience like the facets of a diamond, with individual moments sparkling with light. Some of the brightest, he says, have performed far from the pool, including the American pre-camp, and while he offers some valuable details, he says this is where a country’s swimmers are. from individuals to forming a team.

Gold medalist Caeleb Dressel of Team USA poses with the gold medal in the men's 100m butterfly final at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

But overall, Dressel doesn’t describe the nine days of competition as anything other than torture, albeit torture he was prepared to endure. “It [was] a week from hell, ”he says. “You don’t sleep or eat well. You have to kind of stay in the moment, but also relieve some of that pressure. Physically, you stay calm and trust your body.

At home, the relief, the fulfillment sink. The pressure, as present as a phantom limb, recedes, and the scope of its accomplishments becomes more real. “Sprint races end so quickly, so every little detail and every movement counts. I felt like 24 years of my life boiled down to those few moments, so it was a great emotional release at the end, ”he says. “Above all, it feels like all the hard work and sacrifice was worth it.”

Famous for keeping a journal of his experience in Tokyo, Dressel is also famous for saying he had one entry left, after having had time to think it over. ” The newspaper [was] a way for me to reflect on my performance, congratulate myself on doing good, think about ways to improve myself, and then close the chapter and move on to the next step.

When the time comes, he’ll be ready, but for now, he’s waiting. His biggest lesson from Tokyo? “I learned to take one run at a time.”

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