Conor Dwyer drives a BMW X-1. The lease comes with the prize purse for the Arena Pro Swim Series, which concluded this month. He’s now won the seven-event series three years in a row. The 27-year-old swimmer may soon have a more prestigious take … if he can earn Olympic gold in Rio!
A Swimmer’s Son
Illinois-born and bred, Dwyer started swimming around age two and joined his first swimming team at seven.
His is a swimming family. His mother swam for the Florida State Seminoles, and his grandmother called her grandchildren, including Conor, her “swim team.” He has fond memories of weekly swims with up to 20 siblings and cousins.
An NCAA Superstar
Dwyer began to distinguish himself as a swimmer in high school, when he competed for the Loyola Academy Ramblers. As Senior Team Captain, he became their freestyle champ with a 200-yard time of 1:44:03!
After swimming for two years as a University of Iowa Hawkeye, he transferred to the University of Florida. There, his career blossomed under the direction of Coach Gregg Troy.
As a Florida Gators from 2009 to 2011, he was twice named NCAA Swimmer of the Year. He also accumulated three other NCAA individual/relay titles.
A World-Class Medalist
Shortly after graduation, Dwyer earned gold as part of the U.S. 4x200-meter relay team at the 2011 World Aquatics Championship in Shanghai, China.
Dwyer made the 2012 Olympic swim team when he came in second behind Peter Vanderkaay, his relay teammate in Shanghai, in a freestyle swim of 400 meters. In London that year, he earned his only Olympic gold to date in the same relay event.
Another relay gold medal followed, at the 2013 World Aquatics Championship in Barcelona, Spain. There, Dwyer competed for the first time on the international stage in an individual event: the 200-meter freestyle; his performance earned him a silver medal
The Other Woman
Besides his mother, Dwyer has acknowledged another woman as being a key influence on his career: Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans.
Evans had won four gold medals in distance freestyle events at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. She was on a motivational speaking tour when she met Dwyer through his father. He now credits her with his decision to transfer from Iowa to Florida to work with Coach Troy.
In an interview with NBC Olympics, Dwyer said that Evans' guidance "truly gave me the opportunity to swim with the best and become an Olympic contender. She has always been there for me and her amazing swimming career speaks for itself."
The Road to Rio
During the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro will host both a record number of events and a record number of represented countries. This means Conor Dwyer will have his stiffest competition yet, should he qualify at the Olympic trials this month.
He’s considered a strong contender for Team USA in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events, where he’s continually remained at or near the front of the pack. The U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha run from June 26 through July 3.