Caeleb Dressel became the first swimmer to win three gold medals on a single night at the world championships Saturday.
The newest American star pulled off the stunning triple play by racing three times over the course of about two hours and winning every time.
He started with a victory in the 50-meter freestyle, came back about a half-hour later to nearly break
"Man, that was a lot of fun," the 20-year-old Floridian said.
Dressel now has six gold medals in the championships, putting him in position to tie Phelps' record of seven at the 2007 worlds in Melbourne, Australia. He will close the meet Sunday night on the 400 medley relay team.
"Two more laps to go," Dressel said with a smile.
He even managed to overshadow
Ledecky won the 800-meter race in 8 minutes, 12.68 seconds, which was nearly eight seconds off her world record at last summer's Rio Games.
"I've never walked away from a season completely satisfied, even last year," she said. "I can really take what I've learned and use it moving forward. It gets me really excited. If that was my bad year for the next four years, then the next couple years are going to be pretty exciting."
Dressel has emerged as the breakout performer of the championships, with a bit of help from the relatively new mixed relays. Two of his golds came in events that feature men and women on the same team.
The Americans romped to another world record in the 400 mixed free relay. Dressel led off with blistering time of 47.22 for the first 100 — even more remarkable given his grueling night — and his three teammates took it from there.
"That last relay was a lot of fun," Dressel said. "I wanted to lead it off even though it meant less to get ready for it. It was such a blast."