Conor Dwyer is an American swimmer and Olympic gold medalist. He competes in the freestyle and medley events, and won a gold medal as a member of the winning U.S. 4×200-meter freestyle relay team at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Personal life and youth swimming
Conor Dwyer was born on Jan. 10, 1989 in Evanston, Ill. to parents Patrick and Jeanne Dwyer. Dwyer was raised in Winnetka, Ill., and swam for local club teams, including the Lake Forest Swim Club located in Lake Forest, Ill. As a Lake Forest Mighty Duck, Conor swam under Head Coach Maureen Sheehan and Associate Head Coach, Michael Lawrence. During his high school years, Dwyer attended a Jesuit college preparatory school called Loyola Academy located in Wilmette, Ill. Dwyer represented the Loyola Ramblers for four years under Head Coach Dennis Stonequist, and was league champion as a senior captain in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.03) and runner-up in 500-yard freestyle (4:45.15). At the Illinois High School State Meet, Dwyer was part of two 6th place relay teams (200 yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays), earned 10th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:43.34) and 14th in the 500-yard freestyle (4:43.40). By season’s end, Dwyer received all-section and all-league honors, and was voted his team’s most valuable swimmer.
In addition to swimming, Dwyer played baseball, lacrosse and water polo. In water polo, Dwyer earned third-team all-state and first-team all-section, all-region and all-league honors. He graduated from Loyola in 2007.
Dwyer began his college swimming career as a Hawkeye at the University of Iowa. During the 2007–08 season, Dwyer placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships in the 200-yard freestyle (1:37.07), and was the fastest team member in the 100-yard freestyle (44.66), 200-yard freestyle (1:36.44) and 500-yard freestyle (4:27.21). At the end of his freshman season, Dwyer was named team MVP. In his sophomore campaign, Dwyer set the school record in the 100-yard freestyle (43.67) and made major improvements in his 200-yard freestyle (1:35.27) and 500-yard freestyle (4:22.35).
For the 2009-2010 season, Dwyer transferred to the University of Florida, where he swam under Coach Gregg Troy. In his first season as a Gator, Dwyer made even more improvements, as he won individual NCAA National titles in the 200-yard freestyle (1:32.31) and 500-yard Freestyle events (4:13.61). Dwyer’s outstanding performances at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and NCAA Championship Meets earned him both the SEC Male Swimmer of the Year and the NCAA Male Swimmer of the Year awards in 2010.
In the 2010-2011 season, Dwyer improved in every facet and impressively earned himself both the SEC Male Swimmer of the Year and NCAA Male Swimmer of the Year distinctions yet again. Dwyer set new best times in several events, including the 200-yard freestyle (1:31.73), which was .01 off of the American record, the 500-yard freestyle (4:11.36), 1000-yard freestyle (9:00.48), 1,650-yard freestyle (14:52.75) and 400-yard Individual Medley (3:37.75). Although Dwyer’s senior season was special, his peak performance came at the SEC Championship meet as he developed an illness shortly before the NCAA Championships. At the NCAA Championships, Dwyer failed to repeat his title in the 500-yard Freestyle, touching in at 3rd place (4:13.98) and up short as he swam the 400-yard Individual Medley (3:42.49) for team scoring purposes and placed 9th overall due to a difficult preliminary swim.
Dwyer finished his college career with twelve All-American honors and three NCAA titles (two individual, one relay). He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in business in 2011.
National and International Swimming
In 2007, Dwyer earned bronze in the 200-meter freestyle at the Speedo Junior Nationals. At the 2010 ConocoPhillips United States National Championships in Irvine, Cali., Dwyer qualified for the U.S. National Team in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay by finishing fifth in the 200-meter freestyle. Dwyer also placed fifth in the 200-meter individual medley and sixth in the 400-meter freestyle.
At the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, Dwyer swam in the heats of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, teaming with David Walters, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay. Dwyer swam the second leg and recorded a time of 1:47.31, and earned a gold medal when the United States won in the final.
At the 2011 ConocoPhillips National Championships in Palo Alto, Cali., Dwyer won the 200-meter IM and was runner up in the 400-meter IM. Shortly after the 2011 National Championships, Dwyer competed at the 2011 Pan American Games held in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he won one gold as part of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and one silver medal as part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and two individual silver medals in the 200-meter Individual Medley (1:58.64) and the 400-meter Individual Medley (4:18.22).
At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. Dwyer qualified for his first U.S. Olympic team by finishing second behind Peter Vanderkaay (3:47.67) in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 3:47.83. Dwyer also qualified for the 4×200 meter freestyle relay by finishing fourth (1:46.64) in the 200-meter freestyle behind Michael Phelps (1:45.70), Ryan Lochte (1:45.75) and Ricky Berens (1:46.76). Dwyer finished the 2012 Olympic Trials with a third place finish in the 200-meter IM (1:58.92) finishing again behind Phelps (1:54.84) and Lochte (1:54.93). All of Dwyer’s times in each of the events he performed represented personal bests.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London Dwyer swam his first race in the 400-meter freestyle. In the heats of the 400-meter freestyle, Dwyer achieved a personal best of 3:46.24 (improving upon his prior best of 3:47.83) to qualify for the final. In the final of the 400-meter freestyle, Dwyer placed fifth with a time of 3:46.39, slightly slower than the time he posted in the heats. In his second and final event, the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Dwyer earned a gold medal when the U.S. team placed first in the final with a time of 6:59.70. Teaming with Ryan Lochte (1:45.15), Ricky Berens (1:45.27) and Michael Phelps (1:44.05), Dwyer swam the second leg in a time of 1:45.23.
At the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona Dwyer earned his first medal of the meet, a silver, by swimming for the U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Swimming the anchor leg in the heats, Dwyer recorded a time of 48.36. In his first individual event, the 200-meter freestyle, Dwyer won silver behind Frenchman and training partner at North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC), Yannick Agnel, recording a personal best time of 1:45.32. At the 150-meter mark, Dwyer was in fifth place, but posted the fastest final 50-meter split of the field, 26.59 seconds, to earn the second place finish. In the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Dwyer combined with Ryan Lochte (1:44.98) Charlie Houchin (1:45.59) and Ricky Berens (1:45.39) with the team finishing in first place. Swimming the lead-off, Dwyer recorded a split of 1:45.76, and the team finished with a final time of 7:01.72.
In December of 2013 Dwyer traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to compete for Team USA at the Duel in the Pool classic, which pits America’s top swimmers against Europe’s fastest swimmers in a head-to-head short course meters swim meet. Dwyer opened the meet with a victory in the 400-meter IM with a time of 4:01.76, finishing just ahead of teammate Chase Kalisz, who finished in second place with a time of 4:02.40. Later that day, Dwyer fought hard for a third place finish in the hotly contested 400-meter freestyle. Dwyer finished behind fellow American and event winner Michael Klueh (3:39.94) as well as North Baltimore Aquatic Club training partner and European stalwart, Yannick Agnel (3:40.19). Just behind Dwyer were American Michael McBroom and European James Guy, who tied for fourth with a time of 3:40.57 and Matt McClean, who finished sixth with a time of 3:40.68. On day two, Dwyer again was crowned champion of the 200-meter freestyle, finishing with a time of 1:41.68, distancing himself from the field as second place Tyler Clary finished over two seconds behind with a time of 1:43.84. In his final swim of the meet, Dwyer again captured the win in the 200-meter IM with a time of 1:53.51, comfortably ahead of Europe’s runner-up, Roberto Pavoni (1:54.20) and American Kalisz (1:54.26). America went on to win the excitingly close dual meet by one point, 132-131, in large part to Dwyer’s success.
When 2013 came to an end, Dwyer pushed himself even harder in 2014. He had a three-event lineup at the 2014 U.S. National Championships, finishing fourth in the 200-meter IM and the 100-meter freestyle and he also picked up a second-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle. His finishes in the 200 and 100-meter freestyles put him on the Pan Pac’s roster. Dwyer won a gold medal for the U.S. Team as a member of its 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and also brought home a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle, barely missing out on a bronze medal.
Going into the World Short Course Championships in Doha, Dwyer changed his training scenery. When training partners Yannick Agnel and Michael Phelps stepped away from North Baltimore Aquatic Club, he went west. Dwyer trained with veteran coaches, Dave Salo and Jon Urbanchek, in order to gear up for Doha. At the 2014 Championships, Dwyer won gold as a member of the U.S. 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
In 2015 Dwyer toured the country competing in the Arena Pro Series in cities such as Mesa, Charlotte and Santa Clara. In June he competed at its portion, and after that meet in Santa Clara wrapped up, Dwyer was named the Pro Series Champ. Dwyer was actually so far ahead on the leaderboard that he didn’t even need to swim at Santa Clara in order to win the Series. His total prize money of $12,000 and a new 1-year BMW lease was the second year in a row that Dwyer was named the winner.
2015 FINA World Championships
In Kazan, Russia Dwyer added another World Championship medal to his growing collection with a silver in the 800 meter freestyle relay. In his individual events, he placed 5th in the 200 meter medley and 9th in the 200 meter freestyle.
Road to Rio
On the first night at the US Olympic Trials, Dwyer sealed his spot on the plane to Rio with a silver in the 400 meter freestyle. Two days later he picked up another two events with a silver in the 200 meter freestyle adding a individual and relay to his Olympic schedule. He stormed out in front and the title looked to be his through 150 meters. But Townley Haas and Jack Conger had tremendous final 50’s. Haas managed to out touch Dwyer by 0.01 but Conger ran out of pool and finished 3rd.
2016 Rio Olympics
Dwyer won his first individual Olympic medal with a bronze in the 200 meter freestyle in Rio. South African Chad le Clos went out like a rocket for the first 100 and the rest of the field were playing catch up. Dwyer was hunting down le Clos in the final few meters but he managed to hold on to take second while Dwyer touched out James Guy of Great Britain to take third in 1:45.23.
Dwyer and Team USA, the defending Olympic Champions, were up against 2015 World Champions, Great Britain, in the 800 meter freestyle relay. Dwyer lead off for the U.S, putting them in first place. As Townley Haas, Ryan Lochte and finally Michael Phelps took the reins, the lead grew. USA took the gold in 7:00.66. Dwyer’s flat start in the relay was exactly the same time from his individual final, 1:45.23.
In the 400 meter freestyle, Dwyer just missed out on the medals, finishing 4th in 3:44.01.
Originally developed by Doug Lennox II