Caeleb Dressel Could 'Feel' Support from Loved Ones Back Home: 'I Couldn't Do This by Myself'
Caeleb Dressel told PEOPLE he was eager to finally talk to his family after winning five gold medals during his time in Tokyo
Caeleb Dressel will soon reunite with his wife and family, but as he closed out his time at the Tokyo Olympics, he was anxious to hear their voices.
"I still haven't gotten to talk to them yet," Olympic swimmer Dressel told PEOPLE on Monday while speaking with reporters about being an OMEGA ambassador. "So I'm very much looking forward to just the FaceTime call. I might do that on the way the airport today."
Dressel has a lot to bring home with him: five gold medals, including three from individual events. The 24-year-old Florida native got visibly emotional after his record-setting win in the men's 100m freestyle, when he saw wife Meghan calling in poolside via video. At the time, he candidly told reporters that he was a frequent crier. "I can't be calling [my family] every night, you know, exerting that energy," he noted. (Families and international spectators were not permitted to travel to Japan for the Games due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.)
Reflecting to PEOPLE, Dressel admitted that he is "really good at hiding my emotions until I'm not. So I can put a pretty good show on throughout the Games and stuff things in and not let anything out. But the moment the race is over, it's all going to come out."
"I give myself five minutes to really let that shine through, and then I got to refocus," he explained.
But he didn't need to hear Meghan and his parents Michael and Christina Dressel's voices to know they were watching his every move — and fiercely cheering him on.
"I've been doing the sport since I was 5 years old," the swimmer said. "And if I don't have support behind me, it's just a dream and it will not be able to turn into reality. So you need that support behind you."
That "inner circle" of family, friends, teammates and coaches extends beyond to sponsors like OMEGA, who toured Dressel around their dedicated space in Tokyo.
"It takes a lot of people. I would not swim if it was just me. If I didn't have any teammates, I couldn't stay in a pool for two hours, twice a day, nine times a week. I can't do that. And I'm fine with admitting that. I couldn't do this by myself," he elaborated. "So you really do need people behind you. I know we're a couple, what is it, a thousand miles away from back home, but I could feel that support."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.
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