By Karen Rosen | July 27, 2017, 12:20 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Gold medalist Caeleb Remel Dressel of the United States and silver medalist Nathan Adrian celebrate following the men's 100-meter freestyle final at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships on July 27, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

 

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Caeleb Dressel's time has arrived.

Dressel broke his own American record to win the men's 100-meter freestyle at the FINA World Championships while teammate Nathan Adrian was second Thursday night at Danube Arena.

He won the first Team USA gold medal in the 100 free since Anthony Ervin in 2001.

"He crushed it," said Adrian, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist. "Anybody who’s followed Caeleb is not surprised by this. They know the sky is absolutely the limit."

Dressel clocked 47.17, surpassing his mark of 47.26 on the lead-off leg of 4 x 100-meter relay Sunday night.

"This meet’s been a blast," Dressel said. "I’ve had so much fun getting up and racing the rest of the world."

Since the meet began last Sunday, Dressel had already won gold medals on the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay and the mixed 4 x 100 medley relay, but this was his first individual gold.

“Right now, it’s all smiles,” he said. “Let it sit in, I guess, a little bit. Man, it felt nice to go 1-2 with Nathan. 

“There’s nothing like that—Americans on top.”

Adrian, swimming in his fifth World Championships, came in at 47.87 to earn his 11th world medal while Mehdy Metella of France was third in 47.89.

"I've been really proud to be able to make my way into finals for a while now," Adrian said. 

He said that before the race he told Dressel, "Hey man, this is going to be the first of many, many finals that you're going to be in. Don't stress out too much. And he obviously didn't."

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Dressel, competing at his first Worlds, won the 50 free, 50 fly and 100 fly at the U.S. nationals and was second in the 100 free behind Adrian. 

Dressel said he didn’t know that this was the first Team USA gold in the 100 free at the world championships in 16 years.

“I just want to do my best each time I go into the water with a flag on my cap,” he said. “That s a pretty cool stat and to go 1-2, that’s even better.”

The only other medals for Team USA since Ervin's gold in 2001 were in 2013 when Jimmy Feigen won silver and Adrian took the bronze.

"It was awesome, man," Adrian said of going 1-2. "It's been a while since we've done that in a 100 free event. I don't know my history well enough to go back that far."

Actually, it was 1978, when David McCagg won the gold and Jim Montgomery grabbed the silver.

Dressel has also proved he has sizzling speed the in the butterfly. In the mixed 4 x 100-medley relay, he posted a time of 49.92 seconds on his leg. 

He has the prelims and semifinals of the 50 free and 100 fly on Friday, with finals in both events scheduled for Saturday.

At the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Dressel won two gold medals. He swam on the winning 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay and also swam in the preliminaries of the 4 x 100-meter medley relay.

"It's fun to watch (Dressel)," said Adrian. "He's going to be incredible in the years to come."