Florida native Caeleb Dressel, 22, edged out Phelps’ 2009 world record of 49.82 seconds with a new record of 49.50 seconds on July 26 at the FINA World Championships.
Dressel also won a record eight medals at the world championships, which took place in Gwangju, South Korea, this year. FINA is the world federation that oversees water sports, and its world championships are second only to the Olympics for international competitions.
“Part of me is very happy,” Dressel told USA Today. “Part of me wants to cry that I’m done with it. I’ve got pimples on my face from just the stress of the meet. I’m probably losing some hair. It was a very tough week. I knew I was going to have to come with fire, passion and pride in every single race.”
If you’re wondering how Phelps feels about his record being broken, he congratulated Dressel on Instagram.
Dressel, in turn, replied to that post, commenting, “I appreciate you and what you’ve done for us.”
Dressel was the second person to break a Phelps world record that week. On July 24, Hungary’s Kristóf Milák beat Phelps’ world record in the 200-meter butterfly. Phelps had held that top time since 2001.
Phelps still holds the world record for the 400-meter individual medley.
Dressel, second from right, is seen here with his U.S. teammates Nathan Adrian, Blake Pieroni and Zach Apple during the medal ceremony for the men’s 4x100m Freestyle Final on the first day of the FINA World Championships, July 21, 2019.
For those hoping Phelps will come out of retirement for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, he says it’s highly unlikely. Instead, he’s enjoying time with his wife and kids and being an advocate for water conservation, mental health and U.S. swimming.
Dressel, meanwhile, is gearing up for the 2020 Olympics. It looks like we have a lot more to see from this swimming phenom.