Men’s Swimming: Winnetka’s Dwyer going head-to-head with Phelps
Loyola graduate Conon Dwyer enjoyed a stellar career at the University of Florida. | Mike Comer/ProSwim Visuals
Updated: July 22, 2012 7:57PM
Four years ago, Conor Dwyer set a goal to swim at the Olympics.
The Winnetka native and Loyola graduate gets his opportunity next week at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. The 23-year-old Dwyer will compete in the 400-meter freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 IM at the CenturyLink Center.
The two top swimmers in each event automatically qualify for the London Olympic Games on July 27-Aug. 12. Swimmers also will be competing for relay berths.
“I have been patiently waiting for my chance,” said Dwyer, who graduated from University of Florida and now swims out of Gainesville. “This is something that has been driving me all year. I can’t wait to compete and possibly represent my country in London.”
Dwyer likes his chances in the 200 and 400 freestyle events. In the 200 IM, he’s seeded behind Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, two former Olympians with a combined 22 medals.
Dwyer said the experience of competing in Omaha in 2008 will serve him well this time around.
“It gave me a perspective of how big swimming can be,” he said. “That’s when I set my goal to make the finals and make the Olympics. It all started back then.
“It’s nice knowing the deal this time. There are different pressures, but I know it will be a lot of fun.”
Dwyer will be one of four swimmers with Loyola ties competing in Omaha next week. Betsy Webb is a two-time NCAA champion and recent Stanford graduate. Evan Swenson and Andrew Jovanovic will be seniors at Loyola.
Dwyer starts competition June 25 in the 400 free. He will swim the 200 free on June 26, 100 free on June 28 and the 200 IM on June 29.
Since turning pro after graduating college, Dwyer’s been living and training on Florida’s campus with Olympians, including Lochte, who’s won three gold medals.
“I am surrounded by good people down here,” said Dwyer, who has a few sponsors and receives a stipend from the U.S. Olympic Committee. “Swimming is pretty much my job. It’s been nice to be able to focus on it and put in all the work required.”
Dwyer said his extended family will be Omaha cheering him on.
“They are pretty crazy,” he said. “They always support me, and they always keep it fun and relaxed.”