Team USA dominate in pool to retain men’s 4x100m freestyle crown

Caeleb Dressel, Blake Pieroni, Bowen Becker and Zach Apple hold off a spirited Italy to win 10th Olympic gold in men’s 4x100m freestyle relay

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Caeleb Dressel got on his quest for six gold medals in swimming at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 off to a flying start as Team USA retained the 4x100m men's freestyle Olympic gold.

Twenty-four-year-old Dressel, who has been hailed as the successor to Michael Phelps, swam the first leg in 47.26 to put the USA out front.

The other members of the quartet - Blake Pieroni, Bowen Becker - kept the momentum going before Zach Apple swam the anchor leg of 46.69 to bring them home.

“I felt good the whole way, I knew I had to get my hand in the wall first and get some clean water,” Dressel said.

“And everyone did their job. It’s a relay for a reason, it’s four guys for a reason, it’s certainly not just me. It’s certainly not just one guy.

"I had the easiest job out there because I got to watch it [the heats] on TV." (Dressel was resting during the 4x100m freestyle heats.)

Team USA won in 3:08.97, the third-fastest time in history. Italy took the silver in 3:10.11, with the bronze going to Australia in 3:10.22.

The scariest part was my leg for myself, because I had control over that," Dressel said.

“I knew they were going to get the job done, I wasn’t scared at all. Especially when Zach hit the water. I saw him break out and I knew it was over.”

"It is easy when these three guys are leading off, giving me a lead,"added Apple.

"I love living in the pressure. It is why we race. It brings out the best in us."

Apple climbed from the pool to an embrace from Dressel, who is set for a gruelling schedule of three individual events and three relays in Tokyo.

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