Dressel and Ledecky to defend 100m butterfly and 800m freestyle titles at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

Neither swimmer faltered at the US Olympic Trials. Dressel repeated Friday's success in the 50m freestyle, while Ledecky lived up to her predictions. She is aiming to become the only woman to win four consecutive gold medals in the same event this summer. The first was at London 2012 at the age of 15.

The pressure of the US Olympic trials is such that even the best can falter. That's what happened to Caeleb Dressel earlier this week in the 100m freestyle. However, he picked himself up and never looked back. On Saturday, he sealed his place for Paris 2024 in the 100m butterfly with a performance reminiscent of the best Dressel.

Dressel took control with his trademark explosive start, led at the turn and won in 50.19 seconds. He was followed by 17-year-old Thomas Heilman, who finished in 50.80 seconds. Dressel will be defending his Olympic title, as well as the 50m freestyle. He also qualified for the event last Friday

Dressel is really back after his break, which caused him to stop swimming abruptly. He seemed to struggle to come back, but he remains one of the best swimmers in the world and is already thinking about repeating his achievements. 

Dressel celebrates his qualification for the 100m butterfly at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES
Dressel celebrates his qualification for the 100m butterfly at Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

While Dressel's story is unique, Katie Ledecky's is simply one for the sporting books. She still has to finish the job, but she has taken the first step, having already qualified for the 800m freestyle. She will be going for her historic fourth consecutive gold medal in the event.

No woman has ever won four consecutive Olympic gold medals in the same event. It all began for Ledecky when she unexpectedly won her first gold medal at the London 2012 Games at the age of just 15. Then came Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and now Paris 2024.

Ledecky, who holds the world record with the top 16 times in the event, clocked a time of 8 minutes 14.12 seconds. As in the 400m freestyle, Paige Madden finished second to Ledecky, breaking her personal best with a time of 8:20.71. No woman has ever achieved what Ledecky is aiming for. Only Michael Phelps, who won the 200m individual medley in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, has won the same event at four consecutive Games.

Alongside Dressel in the 100m, Heilman will also be in Paris in 2024. He had already won the 200m butterfly to become the youngest male swimmer from the United States to secure an Olympic berth since Michael Phelps at the age of 15 and Aaron Peirsol at the age of 17 at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

Dressel was enjoying himself once again, as seen with his wife and child last Friday. He was able to regain the sensations he had before his break from the sport. However, he made no secret of the challenges of these trials. "That's really the hardest part," Dressel said of the pressure of the US trials, where only the top two in each event can secure an individual Olympic berth.

"It's hard to make the team here, and that's the way it should be," said Dressel, whose five gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics are proof of his superstar status.

"I think I felt every emotion I'm capable of feeling," said Dressel of the intense nine-day trials. This year's trials were held at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, which was converted into a swimming pool.

Finally, there was a momentous occasion when the Walsh siblings, Alex and Gretchen, secured their places. Both will represent the USA at Paris 2024 after qualifying in the 100m butterfly. Gretchen set a world record in the semi-finals on her way to winning the 100m butterfly. "This is a dream we've been dreaming of for so long," said Gretchen.