Take away the four Olympic gold medals, the three world championships, the four NCAA titles and the B1G Conference records, and you have a guy famous for his proposal skills alone. Some might argue that pulling off the perfect surprise proposal takes as much talent as becoming a professional swimmer. Grevers popped the question to girlfriend (and fellow national team member) Annie Chandler in February 2012 at the Missouri Grand Prix. The video went viral, and one of swimming’s reigning power couples ascended the throne.
Before his romantic tendencies were exposed to the YouTube world, Grevers was a tall Chicago kid with a love for swimming. Born and raised in Lake Forest, IL, he showed early promise at high school meets, setting three state records and contributing to Lake Forest High School’s first men’s team state championship. He swam for Patriot Aquatics Swim Club under coach Lea Mauer.
Grevers began swimming at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, in the fall of 2003. He was named B1G Freshman of the year and won four B1G Championships, immediately proving his value to the team. As a sophomore, he became the Wildcats’ first NCAA champion since 1958, winning the 100yd backstroke against Florida Gator Ryan Lochte. He also earned All-America recognition in the 100yd and 50yd freestyle events and contributed to Northwestern’s relay teams.
He defended his NCAA title as a junior at the 2006 championships and added another the following year in the 200yd backstroke, becoming only the third swimmer in NCAA history to go under 1:40.00. Grevers also helped the Wildcats to victory in the 400yd medley relay, earning a fourth NCAA championship. He graduated in 2007 with 27 All-America honors and a degree in communication studies.
With Olympic Trials in 2004 (7th, 100m freestyle; 12th, 50m freestyle; 14th, 100m freestyle) and the World University Games in 2005 (2nd, 100m backstroke and 400m medley relay; 3rd, 50m backstroke & 400m freestyle relay), Grevers solidified his place among elite U.S. swimmers. He had seriously considered representing the Dutch in international competition, as both parents are from the Netherlands, but decided against it. He also competed in the 2006 Short Course World Championships, winning a silver medal in the 400m medley relay and a bronze in the 400m freestyle relay, and the 2007 World University Games, winning gold in the 400m freestyle relay and silver in the 400m medley relay.
2008 Olympic Games
In 2008, he was a part of the United States’ powerhouse Olympic team in the heart of the Phelps era. Grevers qualified for the 100m backstroke and the 400m medley and freestyle relays at the Beijing Games. He helped the U.S. to its famous win over France in the 400m freestyle relay with a swim in the preliminaries, and was also a member of the gold-medal-winning, world-record-setting 400m medley relay. He captured a silver medal in the 100m backstroke, his only individual event.
2009 World Championships
At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Grevers helped the U.S. 400m freestyle and medley relay teams to two more gold medals. He also placed 7th in the 100m backstroke. In 2010 and 2011, Grevers went through a re-focusing period during which he increased weight training and yardage. He altered his regimen and returned in 2012 ready to compete at U.S. Olympic Trials. In Omaha, he secured his place on the Olympic team with a first place finish in the 100m backstroke, His time of 52.08 was just hundredths off of U.S. backstroke star Aaron Peirsol’s world record (51.94), set at the 2009 World Championships. and a third place finish in the 100m freestyle to qualify for the 400m freestyle and medley relays. He also finished 6th in the 50m freestyle.
2012 Olympic Games
In London, he won his first individual Olympic gold medal in his signature event, the 100m backstroke. He also helped the U.S. team to a gold in the 400m medley relay and a silver in the 400m freestyle relay, when they were just out-touched by France.
2013 World Championships
Grevers continued his gold medal streak in the 100m backstroke at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona (52.93), where he just beat USA teammate David Plummer. Grevers also tied Jeremy Stravius of France for silver in the 50m backstroke (24.54). He swam on the winning 400 medley relay, but it was ultimately disqualified for an early takeoff.
2014 Nationals/Pan Pac Champs
In 2014, he won the 100 backstroke at the Phillips 66 Nationals to qualify for the Pan Pac team. At Pan Pacs, Grevers finished second in the 100 backstroke and was part of the gold-medal-winning 400 medley relay team.
2015 World Championships
Grevers qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, swimming his signature events, the sprint backstroke races. He competed in both the 50-meter and 100-meter backstrokes, making it to the championship final in both.
In the 50-meter distance, Grevers finished second overall for a silver medal behind France’s Camille Lacourt. Grevers also swam the 100-meter back, where he finished third for a bronze medal. As the defending world and Olympic champion, Grevers showed frustration after the race, claiming that he “should’ve won.”
Aside from his individual performances, Grevers also was a member of the 4×100-meter medley relay that won the gold. Although Grevers picked up a gold, he swam the prelim backstroke leg, and Ryan Murphy took over for the final.
2016 U.S. Olympic Trials
Grevers had his hopes for a third Olympic Games derailed as the defending Olympic champion finished 3rd in the 100 meter backstroke. He also finished 15th in the 100 meter freestyle. The 31-year-old posted on his twitter account a few days later saying:
“Thank you for the tremendous support! There will be more racing in my future, along w/ a baby girl and gigs beyond the pool. #notretired”
2017 U.S. World Championship Trials
As he had promised, Grevers wasn’t left of a U.S. team at a major meet for long. He took the gold in the 100 meter backstroke at the World Championship Trials in 52.71 to secure his place on the team in Budapest. He also swam the 50 meter backstroke but finished third behind Justin Ress and Ryan Murphy.
2017 World Championships
Grevers was right back on medal winning form in Budapest. He touched in 52.48 in the 100 meter backstroke final to take the silver medal. He was just 0.04 off the gold medal that was won by Jiayu Xu of China. His compatriot Ryan Murphy finished just behind in third.
On day four Grevers joined with Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel and Simone Manuel to take the gold in the 400 meter mixed medley relay. Grevers lead off in 52.32 which would have won the gold medal in his individual 100 meter backstroke. The quartet combined to smash the old World Record that was set by the USA B team earlier in the day in 3:38.56.
On the final night in Budapest, Grevers picked up a bronze medal in the 50 meter backstroke touching in 24.56. He was just 0.05 behind Japan’s Junya Koga in silver. France’s Camille Lacourt took the gold.
He was back in the pool later that night to join Kevin Cordes, Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian in the 4×100 meter medley relay to pick up the final gold medal of the meet. Grevers lead Team USA off in 52.26 to give them the lead. The quartet finished in 3:27.91.
2018 U.S. Nationals
Grevers was the runnerup in the 100 backstroke (52.55). He swam a personal best 24.53 in the 50 backstroke prelims, shaving one hundredth of a second off his previous top time from the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. Grevers finished fifth in the 50 backstroke finals (24.63) and placed 19th in the 100 freestyle (49.51).
Originally developed by Natalie Schumann.