Caeleb Dressel Says He Was Disappointed with Tokyo Performance Despite Golds: 'Not Fair to Myself'

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Caeleb Dressel
Caeleb Dressel

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images Caeleb Dressel

Caeleb Dressel made millions of fans across the U.S. last summer when he swam his way to an impressive five Olympic gold medals, making him only the fifth American to do so in a single Games after 1970.

But he still wasn't pleased with his performance, the Olympic swimmer reveals in a new interview for In Depth with Graham Bensinger.

"I didn't hit any of my goal times in Tokyo," says Dressel, 25. "Yeah … And that's not fair to myself. That's not fair at all. Like I just won five gold medals on the biggest world stage in sports, and I'm thinking about how I wish I would've gone faster in certain events."

RELATED: Caeleb Dressel Says He Wants to 'Prioritize Myself' After 2021 Olympics: 'I Drove Myself Crazy'

In addition to the five golds, Dressel set the Olympic record time in the 100m butterfly and the 4x100m medley during the Tokyo Games last summer.

His coach Gregg Troy, who also participates in the interview, says he's used to "trying to motivate someone to be better than what they think they can be," but with Dressel, "you've got a guy that's as good as or better than anyone and he never thinks it's good enough."

Responds Dressel, "I think that's what makes me great, but I think that can also be detrimental if I want to have longevity in the sport."

RELATED: Caeleb Dressel Could 'Feel' Support from Loved Ones Back Home: 'I Couldn't Do This by Myself'

In the interview, Dressel and his mom Christina Dressel also speak about mental health issues that the athlete has grappled with, including panic attacks and depression he dealt with as a high school senior.

"I didn't want to do anything — wasn't going to school, wasn't swimming," says the athlete. "[I] was pretty much just laying in bed for all hours of the day, for a couple months."

With the support and encouragement of his family, Dressel found tools to help him through those dark times. "Being patient and clinging on to the people I was comfortable talking with made me feel more human and made this situation feel like a much more manageable thing to cope with," Dressel explains.