2020 Tokyo Olympics: Florida’s Caeleb Dressel, Bobby Finke win three gold medals Saturday, seven overall

By Adam Silverstein
July 31, 2021
2020 Tokyo Olympics: Florida’s Caeleb Dressel, Bobby Finke win three gold medals Saturday, seven overall
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Image Credit: IOC

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is yet another banner event for Florida Gators swimming with former stars Caeleb Dressel and Bobby Finke winning seven gold medals over the last week for the United States, including three in a two-hour period Saturday night. Dressel himself made call kinds of Olympics history with an all-time performance in the games.

Dressel opened Saturday evening by setting an Olympic record in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. He captured gold in 21.07 seconds with his 0.48-second margin of victory the largest in Olympic history for the event (men or women). Dressel doubled up as a member the Team USA mens’ 4x100m medley relay team, which came from behind to win gold and set a world record in 3:26.78. He swam an incredible third leg, moving the Americans from third to first with a 49.03-second effort in the butterfly, the fastest such split in relay history.

The two golds won by Dressel on Saturday gave him five for the Tokyo Olympics and seven in his Olympic career; he has never taken the medal stand and been draped with anything but first-place honors. He is the fourth men’s swimmer to ever win five gold medals in one Olympics (Michael Phelps, Matt Biondi, Mark Spitz) and the fifth American to ever accomplish such a feat in a single Games over the last 50 years (Phelps, Biondi, Eric Heiden, Spitz).

Dressel opened his medal-winning extravaganza with a relay gold in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle. The Americans took first in 3:08.97 as Dressel swam a 47.26-second split as the opening 100 meters to set the tone for the event; Team USA blitzed the field by 1.14 seconds. Dressel’s second gold came the men’s 100-meter freestyle where he set an Olympic record with a first-place finish in 47.02 seconds. His third gold of the Games came as Dressel bested his own world record in the men’s 100-meter butterfly by 0.05 seconds, finishing in 49.45 seconds.

As if Dressel’s exceedingly impressive turn in the pool was not enough, Finke shocked the world with two come-from-behind victories in distance events, the second shockingly even more impressive than the first.

Finke on Saturday won the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle in 1:49.65. He sat in third place most of the race, moving to second over the final 150 meters and first over the final 50 meters, which he swam in an incredible 25.78 seconds. That mark was faster than any split swam in the men’s 200 meters, 400 meters or 800 meters this year. He became the first American to win the event in 37 years.

That came after Finke posted a similar effort in the men’s 800-meter freestyle on Wednesday. Though he was not favored to medal in either event and was no better than third in any 50-meter leg, Finke moved from fourth to first over the final 50 meters, which he swam in 26.39 seconds to win his first career Olympic medal.

The seven gold medals by Dressel and Finke have Florida ranked seventh in the world (if they were their own nation), behind only China (21), the United States (18), Japan (17), Australia (12), the ROC (11) and Great Britain (nine).

Follow Only Gators’ live continuing coverage of Florida Gators athletes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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