Connor Black Sprint Freestyle and Butterfly
Born on February 10th, 1995, in Mundelein, Illinois, Connor Black swam at Mundelein High School. He first broke onto the scene by placing second in the 100 yard butterfly (50.13) to rival sophomore Andrew Jovanovic of Loyola Academy (48.73). His junior year, he switched to the sprint freestyles, posting double 2nd place finishes (20.54 in the 50 yard freestyle and 45.30 in the 100 yard freestyle) to New Trier’s Max Grodecki, leaving the 100 fly for Jovanovic to claim once again. As a senior, Black dominated the state meet. He threw down a 20.95 fly leg of the 200 medley relay to start things in prelims, beating his own relay’s free leg by over two seconds. After taking down Olympian Matt Grevers‘ 50 free state record of 19.83 in prelims, going 19.80, he went after Sean Fletcher‘s (former University of Michigan swimmer) national public record in the 100 fly. Going 47.20 in prelims and edging out rival Jovanovic in prelims, Black came back harder the second 50 in finals and posted a 46.71. This time broke Fletcher’s national public high school record of 47.08, and solidified him as the fastest 50 freestyler and 100 butterflier that the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) had ever seen. Black touched the wall at 19.95 in finals of the 50 free to win that event as well.
Black posted up some boast-worthy times outside of high school season with the CATS Aquatics Team. At the 2013 Illinois Senior Champs meet, he was 43.74 and 1:37.28 in the 100 and 200 yard freestyles, as well as a 50.03 in the 100 yard backstroke. Black was just as good in his signature sprint free and fly events long course summer of 2013 at the Minnesota Long Course Speedo Championships. Although edged by Purdue’s Matthew Conway in the 200 meter fly by 4 hundredths, going 2:02.43, he won the 50 and 100 meter free with times of 23.12 and 50.70. His biggest swim was the 100 meter fly. Breaking Kyler Van Swol‘s (University of Minnesota) meet record by nearly a second as well as destroying the rest of the field, Black posted a 52.72. If he had gone this time at the 2012 Olympic Trials semifinals for the 100 fly, he would’ve been just tenths outside of finals. Each of these four swims earned him US National cuts.
Black immediately contributed to a Stanford lineup that was in desperate need of conference and NCAA scorers to complement IM/backstroke/sprint free juggernaut David Nolan. At the 2014 Pac-12 Championships, Black posted three top-15 times individually. His best finish came in the 100 fly, arguably his best event, in which he touched the wall in 46.61, a new personal best, for 6th. He also picked up top finishes in the sprint free events, grabbing 13th in the 50 free (19.82) and 15th in the 100 free (43.89), although note that he did not swim finals in the 100 free. Black earned himself top butterflier honors for the Cardinal, as he swam the fly leg of both 200 and 400 medley relays, which placed 4th and 3rd, respectively. He also swam the 2nd leg on the 200 free relay, which placed 5th.
At his first NCAAs, Black finished day one with a new personal best in the 50 free (19.63) from his lead-off leg on Stanford’s 12th place 200 free relay. He scratched the 50 free individually in prelims, assumedly to assure more rest for the 400 medley relay. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, they touched in 18th and were unable to make it back to finals. Stanford’s medley relay woes continued in the 200 medley relay, as they finished 28th of 32 teams, despite switching Black to the anchor leg and swapping in Gray Umbach on the fly leg. Black had the 100 fly individually, where he finished 33rd (47.23). After scratching the 100 free in prelims on day three, Black led off the 400 free relay, which would make finals as the 13th seed, although he was swapped out in finals for Chris Pickard. While this was a rough season for the Cardinal as well as Black in most of his championship swims, he still came out of his freshman year with a personal best in the 50 free as well as All-American honorable mention for the 200 free relay.
As a sophomore, Black focused more on sprint freestyle. He won the B final of the 50 free (19.77) at the 2015 Pac 12 Champs as well as placing 12th in the 100 free (43.28). His biggest splashes came as a relay member, as he helped the 200 free relay to third place and anchored the Cardinal medley relay to another third place finish. Black also grabbed a 7th place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 46.70.
Stanford, as a team, had a much better showing at the 2015 NCAA Championships, as did Black. He swam three individual races, touching 39th in both the 50 and 100 free as well as 23rd in the 100 fly. In fact, he was less than two tenths away from scoring in the 100 fly. In Black’s only relay swim, the 200 free relay, the Cardinal qualified fastest in the B final. They took superstar Nolan off of the relay for finals, but Black split the fastest of any Stanford swimmer in finals (19.27) and they finished 14th place overall.
National and International Swimming
2012 Speedo Junior Nationals
Black participated in the 2012 Speedo Junior Nationals meet. His performances at this meet earned him a spot on the 2013-14 USA National Junior Team roster.
2013 NCSA Summer Championships/Minnesota LC Speedo Championships
In 2013, Black competed nationally at the NCSA Summer Swimming Championships. He swam mostly off events, but his meet was highlighted by a then-best in the 50 meter butterfly (24.08). Black also swam at the 2013 Minnesota LC Speedo Championships, where he swam very well in the 100 and 200 meter butterfly events as well as the 50 and 100 meter freestyles. He touched in 52.72 in the 100 fly, 2:02.43 in the 200 fly, 23.12 in the 50 free, and 50.70 in the 100 free. All of these times were personal bests.
2014 US Summer Nationals/Speedo Champions Series: Central Zone
Black competed at the 2014 US Nationals, his biggest non-collegiate meet yet, and posted some impressive times. He was 44th in the 50 free (23.18) and 60th in the 100 free (51.01), not far off of his bests in either event. He dipped below 53 in prelims of the 100 fly (52.93), and followed up with a 53.13 in finals to finish 13th overall. Black’s big race came in the 50 fly, where he hit best times in prelims and finals. He touched at 23.91 in prelims, and then dropped down to 23.64 in finals for third overall. He almost catapulted himself from relatively unknown, nationally, onto the 2015 World Championship team, had he won the event. He was only .14 off of champion Matt Grevers, the man whose 50 free IL high school record Black had nabbed just the year before. Black also swam at the 2014 Speedo Champions Series: Central Zone Meet, where his meet was highlighted by lifetime bests in the 100 back (58.52) and the 100 free (50.67).
–Originally developed by Karl Ortegon