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Kalisz's Olympic gold medal 'a story of redemption'

Bel Air's Chase Kalisz captures top prize in Tokyo
Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 26, 2021

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — It was a golden weekend Chase Kalisz and his family. His father is still beaming.

"I’m just so proud of him. My family is just so proud of him," said his dad, Mike.

Bel Air’s Chase Kalisz captured Team USA’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics by winning the 400 meter individual medley in the pool on Saturday. His dad and about 60 others watched at Mike's home in Cockeysville.

"For him to win the gold medal is just icing on the cake for many hard years of work and dedication to the sport," he said.

The 27-year-old has been laser focused on these games since the last summer Olympics in 2016.

"He had one goal in mind and that was to win the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics and he’s accomplished that. Check that box off," said his dad.

While the weight around his neck increases, the weight on his shoulders has vanished. Five years ago he earned silver in the same event. He finished seven-tenths of a second behind the winner.

"This is his story of redemption," said Mike. "He felt that he let the United States down by only winning the silver medal in Rio in 2016. This is his redemption."

Chase’s golden win has inspired an entire nation. It has also struck a chord with swimmers in Baltimore. One of the places where Chase used to swim is Meadowbrook Aquatic Center in North Baltimore. He practiced there when he was part of North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

"I think it was really inspiring," said Susie Cadigan, 20, as she stood beside the pool. "It shows swimmers from Maryland and growing up in the Baltimore area that he did it and you guys step up to the plate, work hard towards your goals and really you can do anything you set your mind to."

Chase’s next event is the 200 individual medley. You know there will be a little less nervous energy inside the Kalisz household when that begins on Wednesday.

"We absolutely feel much more relaxed knowing that the pressure’s off for him," said his dad. "We’re going to be really relaxed for this."

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook