Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Caeleb Dressel Has Several Tattoos — What Do They Stand For?

What do Caeleb Dressel's tattoos stand for? The world record–breaking swimmer has a full sleeve on his left arm and another pattern on his right.

Leila Kozma - Author

Jul. 26 2021, Published 5:51 p.m. ET

Already hailed as the next Michael Phelps, Caeleb Dressel scored a victory on Monday, July 26, 2021, having won the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay.

Once described as "the best swimmer on the planet, bar none" by U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member Rowdy Gaines, Caeleb is expected to win big at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Alongside his jaw-dropping achievements, it was his tattoos that caught the attention of his fans. So, what do Caeleb's tattoos depict?

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Caeleb Dressel has the Olympic rings tattooed on his right arm.

Caeleb has already broken several world records. He won the men's 100-meter butterfly at the Gwangju 2019 World Aquatics Championships. He reached the finish line in 49.5 seconds, .32 seconds less than it took the previous record holder, Michael Phelps.

The heavily-tattooed swimmer also holds the record in the 50-meter freestyle with 21.04 seconds, and the 100-meter freestyle with 46.96 seconds, among others, per NBC Sports.

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Born in 1996 in Green Cove Springs, Fla., Caeleb earned recognition for his incredible technique and unmatched talents. What makes him stand out at sports events like the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are his astounding skills and, as some of his fans might tell you, his tattoos.

As Caeleb explained in a promotional video for Mad Rabbit, a company specializing in tattoo balms, he developed an interest in ink around the same time his older brother decided to get a full sleeve.

"You can blame my brother for pretty much all the tattoos I have. Around 19 or 20, he started a full sleeve. I saw how cool it looked, how it was art," Caeleb said. "I look up to my big brother a lot, so of course I wanted to copy him. I mean, I went to the same artist as him."

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Caeleb has a full sleeve adorning his left arm. As he revealed in the clip for Mad Rabbit, he started building the piece with an alligator design. As he said, he was born and raised in Florida and swam at the University of Florida as part of its Gators team — which is why he had to do an alligator.

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"[The gator] I believe was actually the first piece. Growing up in Florida my whole life and then going to the University of Florida ... the gators made a lot of sense," Caeleb said. "I knew there was going to have to be water in the sleeve at some point. I swim for a living."

Soon enough, he began to add other motifs, including a Florida black bear.

"I did a black bear, the native of Florida. And it's my favorite animal," he said.

Source: Instagram
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Next up: the inner part of his left lower arm. Caeleb started with a U.S. flag, positioned in line with the Olympic rings adorning his right arm.

"And then I moved around to this inside piece, where I wanted to match the flags up with the rings the best I could. And then the eagle up top, all the pieces tied together," Caeleb said. "And they represent me as a person. I love being outside, I love nature, and it looks really sweet."

Keep an eye out for Caeleb's beautifully tattooed arms. They are bound to help him achieve a landslide success at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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