SALEM, Va. – While the Tokyo Olympics are wrapping up this week, Salem native, Ben Kennedy shared what it was like getting to watch his best friend Olympic swimmer, Caeleb Dressel compete in the Olympics.
After graduating from Glenvar High School in Salem, Ben went to the University of Florida to join the swim team. There, Ben met fellow UF swim team member and now Olympic gold medalist, Dressel.
“Literally from then on, we were pretty much inseparable. Ever since freshman year in 2014 we’ve been pretty close buds and ended up living together after college,” said Ben.
Both Ben and Dressel were a part of the 2016 Olympic trials. Unfortunately, Ben’s swimming journey ended there.
“You know, I sort of have a different kind of respect for those kinds of guys,” he said.
Ben was able to watch Dressel compete in 2016 and in this year’s Olympics, where Dressel broke his own record in the 100-meter butterfly and won five gold medals.
“I’m super proud of him obviously but on the other hand, I also thought you know it was just a matter of time that this happened,” Ben said about Dressel breaking records at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ben’s father, Patrick Kennedy who is also a former swimmer at UF and a former Olympian says watching his son’s best friend compete and take home the gold was very exciting.
“I expect really big things coming from him in the future too. And I’m glad he’s my son’s best friend. Because Ben learns a lot from him and Ben has actually taught Caeleb a lot of lessons too which is really neat,” said Patrick.
Ben says this weekend he is headed to visit Caeleb in Florida and celebrate his new hardware.
“It kind of made it pretty special to watch him compete at that level and succeed,” he said.