Staying perfect: Dressel wins another gold with world record

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Tokyo Olympics Swimming (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Tokyo Olympics Swimming (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Caeleb Dressel won his third gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics with a world record in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday.

Dressel led right from the start and held off Hungary’s Kristof Milak to touch in 49.45 seconds, breaking the mark of 49.50 that the American set at the 2019 world championships in Gwangju.

Milak, winner of the 200 fly, earned the silver with a blistering 49.68. The bronze went to Switzerland’s Noe Ponti.

Dressel’s victory came in the first of three races on his morning schedule.

He was also set to compete in the semifinals of the 50 freestyle before returning to the deck one more time to anchor the 4x100 mixed medley relay, a new Olympic event that features two men and two women on each team.

Dressel is expected to take part in two more finals Sunday, the last day of the swimming competition at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Dressel won his third gold medal at these games, including the first two individual victories of his Olympic career.

If Dressel sweeps his events, he'll become the only the the fourth swimmer and fifth athlete overall to win six gold medals at a single Olympics.

Swimming icon Michael Phelps did it twice, capturing six golds at the 2004 Athens Games before setting the record with eight golds in Beijing four years later.

Phelps broke the mark held by Mark Spitz, who won seven golds at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Also winning six golds were East German swimmer Kristin Otto in 1988 and gymnast Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus in 1992, when he represented the Unified Team that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It was a big day at the pool, with Katie Ledecky also swimming her final event of these games.

Ledecky was a big favorite to win the 800 freestyle, an event she hasn't lost since 2010. Another victory would make her the first female swimmer to win six individual golds in her Olympic career, breaking a tie with Hungary s Krisztina Egerszegi.

Ledecky already won the 1,500 free in Tokyo, to go along with two silver medals and a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle.

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Paul Newberry is an Atlanta-based national writer and sports columnist covering his 14th Olympics. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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