Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

Caeleb Dressel
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One day last autumn, Caeleb Dressel meandered into housemate Ben Kennedy‘s room with an idea: to start a podcast.

“That’s so weird,” Kennedy replied. “I’ve thought about the same thing for a long time.”

The Ben and Caeleb Show hatched.

Dressel is arguably the world’s best swimmer, with 13 gold medals between the last two world championships. Kennedy is a swammer, a former University of Florida swim teammate who is now in law school in Gainesville.

They’ve lived together for five years, now off campus in North Central Florida (another former Gator, Bayley Main of New Zealand, also resides there).

The podcast is six months old, 27 episodes deep and, Dressel said, gaining traction. Episodes average a few thousand views on YouTube, plus rising numbers on audio platforms. They get fan mail in a P.O. box, including a ceramic goose, grandma pictures and, from an Australian named Josh, hot sauce.

Among the show’s topics: the three words you want to be remembered by (Dressel: loving, selfless, purposeful; Kennedy: patient, selfless, dependable), antimatter space propulsion and how to pronounce “crayon,” addressed in episodes six and 24.

Swimming is not a regular subject.

“I wanted something outside of swimming that I could put energy into, and I feel like people could really get a look into my life,” said Dressel, whose Instagram and Twitter accounts show no posts before March 12. “I feel like I’m a little bit sheltered on social media. I’m not the biggest fan of social media. I share what I want. I don’t really let my whole self out there. If you want the best way to get to know me [and] my career, things I’m struggling with even, things I’m thinking about, is to watch the podcast.”

It’s a release for the best friends who remember the exact date they met: Aug. 20, 2014, as freshmen.

“He’s putting in work for his profession. I’m putting in work for my profession,” Dressel said. “It’s no different. I think we both need a break. I think it all kind of melts away when we sit down and talk for 30 minutes and derail.”

Dressel tied Michael Phelps‘ record of seven gold medals at a single world championships in 2017. He broke Phelps’ total medals record with eight at the worlds in 2019, including snatching Phelps’ world record in the 100m butterfly. Dressel has said he’s not aiming to match Phelps’ eight Olympic golds in Tokyo.

On the podcast, Dressel shares more about his life on dry land. Including sensitive topics: being slapped by a bully in elementary school, when he kept his swimming a secret because he was embarrassed about wearing a Speedo. His dad getting cancer when Dressel was young.

And an admission he thought would cause listeners to “rip me apart.”

“Chewing tobacco,” once or twice a day, Dressel said in an early April episode. “Look, I like to dip. I like the feeling. It’s coming out. Let me just come out and say it.”

Dressel set a goal to limit dipping to weekends in an episode titled “Challenge Yourself.”

“I didn’t get any flak, honestly,” he said this week. “I didn’t think it was going to make headline news or anything like that, but, I don’t know, in my head, maybe somebody else is in the same boat with me.

“Once you start, step by step, putting more [of yourself] out there, it’s almost more relieving. It’s like, yeah, I’m not hiding anything.”

Kennedy, like Dressel, is engaged. He swam in the preliminary heats of the 100m butterfly at the Olympic Trials in 2016, around the time he endured his most significant struggles.

“You get to a point where you realize I’m not Caeleb Dressel,” said Kennedy, who didn’t swim for two months in the 2015-16 season due to mono. “I’m not going to be a professional in this sport. When you realize that when you’re in the middle of your college career, that can take a toll.

“I kind of knew I was never going to swim past college — finding the balance between taking that as seriously as I can and trying to be the best I can and realizing that my time is very limited. Of course there are people that are a lot more talented than I am. That was difficult. I’m sure a lot of college athletes can relate to this.”

In the podcast’s fourth month, they started adding guests. The first: Fernando, an Uber driver, whom they did not know personally before inviting him into their home. At recording time, Fernando had 3,100 trips and a 4.92-star rating.

Dressel and Kennedy also interviewed Kayla Redig, a former college swimmer who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24. And Dr. Greg Morgan, a sleep-disorder physician.

They want to continue to involve others. Ryan Lochte, another former Gator swimmer who once enlisted Dressel as a babysitter, would be a welcome guest, but he also wouldn’t necessarily fit the show philosophy.

“We want the most normal person you can think about,” Dressel said. “I want a guy that has a desk job and goes about normal struggles. We had the Uber guy, and that was awesome.”

Dressel and Kennedy won’t be under the same roof forever. But they’re determined to keep the podcast going.

Kennedy will intern this summer at Black Knight, Inc., a service provider for mortgage companies in Jacksonville. Dressel and his fiancee just closed on a house. “We’re going to make a podcast room,” he said.

In the most recent episode, Dressel said that, when he retires from swimming, he wants to run a podcast channel. Or be a dog trainer. Or a janitor.

The jokes are scattered among life philosophies. In the first episode, Dressel said he lives by a mission statement with daily goals, such as making his bed, reading at least 10 pages of a good book and throwing away one piece of found trash. The 206-word statement, which Dressel has massaged the last few years, is published on the “about me” page of his website.

“My dad always had a personal mission statement,” he said. “If your day didn’t accomplish what your mission statement says you stand for, that’s a bad day, and you’ve got to figure out a way to get better.”

Dressel’s dad, Michael, a veterinarian, is quoted in multiple episodes. The two most addictive things known to mankind: heroin and a weekly paycheck. Or, what he would say when starting the car to drive Dressel and younger sister Sherridon to school in the mornings: Engines to power. Turbines to speed. Let’s go, Batman!

Kennedy and Dressel feel they hit their stride by the six-month mark. They’d like to expand — better recording equipment, a greater appeal for guests. Neither feels restrained when publishing their conversations for the world, or at least a several thousand (and growing) for now.

“I’m hoping that people find it somewhat interesting, or at least entertaining,” Kennedy said. “I’m going to be a professional one day. I’m going to be, hopefully, a lawyer somewhere. I’m just waiting for the day when someone goes, oh, you said this on YouTube.”

MORE: Lilly King, Olympic hopeful swimmers train in Indiana pond

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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Alexis Pinturault wins world championships combined; American in fourth

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France’s Alexis Pinturault won the world Alpine skiing championships combined at his home venue after defending world champion Marco Schwarz blew a lead in the final seconds of his slalom run.

Pinturault, a 31-year-old who hadn’t won a race in nearly two years (the longest drought of his distinguished career), prevailed by one tenth of a second over the Austrian Schwarz in Courchevel, France.

“I hope to enjoy it because it was pretty difficult some months ago,” Pinturault said.

Austrian Raphael Haaser took bronze in an event that combined times from a morning super-G run and an afternoon slalom run, one day after his older sister took bronze in the women’s combined.

River Radamus was fourth, a quarter of a second from becoming the first U.S. man to win an Alpine worlds medal since 2015. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom, which is scheduled for Feb. 17 at worlds.

“It’s nice, but honestly, you don’t come to world championships hoping to get fourth,” Radamus said.

Five skiers finished within 2.98 seconds of the winner in an event that has been dropped from the annual World Cup schedule and is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Pinturault had the fastest super-G run by six hundredths over Schwarz. Schwarz, a slightly better slalom skier than Pinturault, erased that deficit early in the slalom and had a three tenths lead at the last intermediate split.

He gave it all away about six gates from the finish, slamming on the brakes. Moments later, he crossed the finish line one tenth behind Pinturault, who reacted by pumping his fists in the air.

The Frenchman earned his first race victory since the March 2021 World Cup Finals giant slalom, where he clinched his first World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Last season, Pinturault went winless on the World Cup for the first time since he was a teenage rookie in 2011, plus went medal-less at the Olympics.

Pinturault, who grew up in Courchevel and now co-owns the family’s five-star Hotel Annapurna there, had retirement cross his mind in the offseason, according to Eurosport. He skipped a pre-worlds Sunday press conference due to illness.

Nonetheless, Pinturault was on the front page of French newspapers this week, including L’Equipe on Tuesday. In a sports cover story for Le Figaro, Pinturault said that, given the circumstances, it would be almost a “nice surprise” to go for a medal at these worlds.

Olympic champion Johannes Strolz of Austria skied out of the slalom after tying for 29th in the super-G.

Olympic silver and bronze medalists Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway and Jack Crawford of Canada were among the speed specialists who did not start the slalom. They essentially used the event as a training run for Thursday’s super-G.

Worlds continue Wednesday with the women’s super-G, where Mikaela Shiffrin is a medal contender but not the favorite. She can tie the modern-era records for individual world championships gold medals (seven) and total medals (12).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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