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Gator Olympic swimmers are two vastly different people

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Two U.S. men’s swimmers with ties to the University of Florida are both in the pool on Wednesday. That is about where the similarities end.

Calaeb Dressel, the Gator junior, is out to win his second medal of the games. On Sunday night he was part of the gold medal-winning USA freestyle relay team.

Ryan Lochte has won five gold medals spanning three prior Olympiads. The 32-year-old Lochte is a 2007 Florida graduate.

The coverage surrounding Dressel describes a humble, patriotic young man of faith. For example, a different Bible verse can be seen on his face before each event.

“It’s the reason I’m in the sport — not just to go fast times, but to inspire people and show them where I find my happiness with what God’s given me,” he told the Baptist Press.

Dressel wears two tattoos on his back and shoulder. One is an eagle, and the other is the American flag.

Lochte, on the other hand, is known to be a free spirit and the press he has engendered this week involves personal issues over swimming. For example, when he took his mark for the first time on Wednesday, he was sporting a new look.

He debuted a new head of hair with a silver/blue look. American fans will likely say “have at it if it makes you go faster.”

Once in Rio, Lochte also unveiled a new girlfriend. Playboy Playmate Kayla Rae Reid has been seen around town with the Olympian over the past few days.

Save the breast-stroke jokes, ok?

While Dressel and Lochte are two different people, they have a common desire to represent their country and the University of Florida well.

In fact, it was Lochte who convinced Dressel to go to Florida to swim for coach Gregg Troy.

 “If you want to become the best, you have to go there. Troy will get you to the best,” Lochte told NBC.

On Wednesday, Dressel is competing in the 100-freestyle against defending Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian. It was Adrian’s sterling final leg in the relay on Sunday night that helped Dressel earn his gold medal.

Lochte kicks off his Olympics with the 4X200 meter relay on Wednesday.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at [email protected]

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