Tim Phillips is an American sprint butterfly specialist originally from Germany. Although born in Germany, he represents the U.S. in competitions, and graduated from Ohio State in 2013. Phillips was born to Tom and Jody Phillips — a chemist and swim coach, and a school teacher. Tom was also a fellow Buckeye swimmer, and got Tim into swimming at the age of 5.
Phillips began swimming at 5 because his parents wanted him to learn how to swim, probably for safety reasons. He also grew up playing both soccer and golf, but swimming was his true calling. He still enjoys playing soccer to this day for a hobby, and he also likes to go biking and be with his friends. Phillips only trains five days a week, but he swims around 8,000 meters per day. He also has future aspirations of studying medicine.
Beginning at age 5, Phillips began his swimming career at a young age. In high school he attended Parkersburg High, and signed with Ohio State as a senior. Phillips was a National Youth Team member, and was the first to sign with Ohio State. He was a a four-time YMCA national champion and a two-event record-holder, as well as a six-time High School All-American. He also earned the honor of Parkersburg’s Athlete of the Year.
At Ohio State Phillips made an immediate impact by helping Ohio State win its first Big 10 Championship title in 54 years by scoring in six events. Phillips finished second in the 100 fly at conference, and also anchored the winning 200 free relay team. He also scored in the 200 IM and 100 freestyle.
As a sophomore Phillips made his first NCAA Championships, where he swam three individual events and three relays. He finished fifth overall in the 100 fly, earning his first All-America honors. In 2012 he decided to redshirt his junior season in favor of training for the Olympic Trials.
In 2013, as a redshirt junior, Phillips once again competed at the NCAA Championships making it again into the final of the 100 fly, where he finished eighth. He also received honorable mention All-America accolades with the 200 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 freestyle relay.
During his senior year Phillips had his best finish of his career at the NCAA Championships, winning a bronze medal in the 100 fly.
Olympic Trials history
In 2012 Phillips redshirted a year at Ohio State to focus on making the team. But 2008 was actually his first Olympic Trials competition — he swam the 100-meter free, 200-meter free and 100-meter fly, which he finished 20th in all three events.
Phillips returned to Omaha, Neb. for the 2012 Olympic Trials. This time around he solely focused on his primary event, the 100 fly. He made it to the finals, but finished sixth overall, missing the team by four spots.
World University Games
In 2011, after Phillips’ sophomore year at Ohio State, he made the WUG’s roster in the 50 and 100 fly as well as a member of relay events. He went on to win both the 100 and 50 fly, and finished first on the 400 free relay and second on the 400 medley relay.
After graduating from Ohio State Phillips turned his focus to the international level. He swam at the 2014 U.S. Nationals, and finished second in the 50-meter fly and third in the 100-meter fly. His finishes put him on the Pan Pacs roster, where he went on to finish ninth in the 100 fly, losing just two spots from his Pan Pacs debut in 2010 where he finished seventh. He also made the 2015 World Championships roster in the 50 fly where he finished 23rd overall.
2017 National Championships/World Championship Trials
Phillips qualified for his second World Championships with a silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly. He finished in 51.30 behind Caeleb Dressel. He also swam the 50 meter butterfly, touching in third in 23.37. Both swims were new best times.
2017 World Championships
On the second night in Budapest Phillips was in action in the 50 meter butterfly final. He touched in 23.38 to finish 8th overall, a big improvement from his 23rd place finish two years earlier. He set a new best time the night before in the semi-final were he went 23.25.
In the 100 meter butterfly Phillips just missed out on a spot in the final finishing 9th in 51.41.
On the final day Phillips won a gold medal for his heat swim in the 4×100 meter medley relay. He was joined by Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller and Townley Haas to qualify Team USA into the final seeded first. Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes, Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian took the gold in the final.