Dressel considered on ill-fated relay, saw no chance of gold

Jul 29, 2021, 12:40 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2021, 1:34 am

TOKYO (AP) — Caeleb Dressel has a shot to win six gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

He might’ve added another medal to his collection if he’d swam the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, but he doesn’t think there’s any chance it would’ve been gold.

Dressel revealed Friday that he was in strong consideration for the relay — a move that Olympic icon Michael Phelps says would’ve given the Americans a shot at gold.

Britain wound up winning the race, just missing a world record, while the U.S. quartet was shut out of the medals with a shocking fourth-place showing.

It was the first time the Americans have failed to win a medal in a relay they entered at the Olympics. They had been 94 of 94.

“I think (Britain) was going to win that no matter who was on a relay,” Dressel said. “They had the depth this year. In my opinion, I think it was a race for silver. It kills me to say that. The standard for United States swimming is gold. But GB had the guys. They had a fantastic relay.”

The British were led by Tom Dean and Duncan Scott, who finished 1-2 individually in the 200 freestyle.

Dressel did not attempt to qualify for the U.S. team in the 200 free, though he has plenty of experience at that distance.

He swam it in the preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic trials — mainly to stay sharp in the early days of the meet — before dropping out to focus on his stronger races.

Dressel is competing in three individual events at Tokyo, and is expected to be on three relays. He already led the Americans to gold in the 4×100 free relay and claimed his first individual Olympic title with a victory in the 100 free.

Dressel said he learned a couple of days before the 4×200 free relay that he wouldn’t be on the team.

“It was really tough, but we thought that’s what was what was best for the team,” he said. “I’m still OK with the decision. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I’m fine with the decision. I thought the coaches nailed the order. I don’t think that (fourth-place finish) falls on anybody.”

But Phelps was highly critical of Dressel being passed over.

“It’s shocking,” Phelps, who is working as an analyst for NBC at these games, said in an interview with the American television network. “You know, in my opinion, he’s probably the best 200 freestyler in the world. He can probably put up one of the best times that we’ve seen.”

The American coaches went with Kieran Smith, Drew Kibler, Zach Apple and Townley Haas in the final. They labored to a time of 7 minutes, 3.24, more than 4 1/2 seconds behind the gold medalists and also trailing Russia and Australia.

Apple was heavily criticized on social media for swimming for one of the slowest legs of anybody in the field. His time of 1:47.31 was worst among any swimmers from the top five teams; only four of the 32 athletes in the entire field turned in a slower 200 time.

“Really it was a race for second,” said Dressel, who turned in a time of 1:46.63 in his lone 200 free race at the U.S. Olympic trials last month. “I stand by the decision with the guys they put on the relay.”

___

AP Sports Writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.

___

Paul Newberry is an Atlanta-based national writer and sports columnist covering his 14th Olympics. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

___

More AP Olympic coverage: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Japan's Ritsu Doan celebrates scoring his side's first goal during a World Cup group E soccer match...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: World Cup highlights from Day 12

Highlights from the 12th day of the World Cup in Qatar on Thursday. ___ AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 days ago
Germany's Serge Gnabry scores his side's opening goal during the World Cup group E soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Germany out of World Cup despite 4-2 win over Costa Rica

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Germany was eliminated from the group stage of the World Cup for the second tournament in a row. The four-time champions beat Costa Rica 4-2 Thursday but it wasn’t enough to reach the round of 16. Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain in the other group game allowed both of those […]
2 days ago
Japan's Ao Tanaka, second right, heads the ball to score his side's second goal during the World Cu...
Associated Press

Japan beats Spain 2-1 as both teams advance at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Same stadium. Same result. Similar shocking victory for Japan at the World Cup. After beating Germany in the team’s opener, Japan worked its way into the round of 16 of the World Cup on Thursday by defeating Spain 2-1 — the same score as last week. Spain also advanced despite the […]
2 days ago
Morocco fans attend the World Cup group F soccer match between Canada and Morocco at the Al Thumama...
Associated Press

Arabs unite in celebration as Morocco advances in World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — First Qatar was out, exiting the World Cup with the worst record of a host country. Then the Saudi national team’s run ended, despite a historic upset against Argentina last week. Finally Tunisia was eliminated, after a dramatic victory against already-qualified France. Now, at the first World Cup ever to be […]
2 days ago
FILE - NASCAR Xfinity Series auto racing driver Ty Gibbs speaks during the NASCAR Championship medi...
Associated Press

Ty Gibbs declines to discuss sudden death of his father

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ty Gibbs on Thursday declined to discuss the death of his father, which occurred just hours after the young NASCAR driver clinched the Xfinity Series championship last month. Gibbs was asked about his grandfather, Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, telling the employees at Joe Gibbs Racing they all had to move […]
2 days ago
Xavier head coach Sean Miller reacts during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball g...
Associated Press

Schools increasingly giving disgraced coaches second chances

The questions came one after another the moment Xavier announced it was bringing back Sean Miller, its former and wildly successful basketball coach. The guy who had been fired by Arizona and left in his wake multiple NCAA violations. Most of them were of the variety of: “What were you thinking?” Athletic director Greg Christopher […]
2 days ago
Dressel considered on ill-fated relay, saw no chance of gold