Irish American Olympian Conor Dwyer will not lack for family support when he dives in as favorite in Saturday’s 400 metres at the London Olympics.
Dwyer, 23, from Winnetka, Illinois will be cheered by his extended Irish family, all 40 of them, led by his father Pat, mother Jeannie and brother Brendan.
Jeannie says she will be nervous as a kitten for her son.
“I get so nervous,” Jeannie Dwyer said. “It’s very stressful watching your son swimming.”
“During the 400 free (during the Olympic trials earlier this month in Omaha), I had to look down at the end.”
Dwyer won the Olympic trials at the 400 distance and also qualified to swim in the 4x200 relay with among others, the legendary Michael Phelps.
The family will be wearing Conor Dwyer T-shirts specially made for the occasion, 300 have already been sold on line .
His aunt Dinnie Dwyer will also be in the stands she hopes.
“We’re trying to get tickets to the events,” she said.
Dwyer has come late to the top echelon of American swimmers. A transfer from the University of Iowa to the University of Florida made all the difference.
“Conor felt like the clock was ticking,” his father said. “He was saying, ‘How can I get to N.C.A.A.s? How can I get to the Olympics?’”
Conor dropped swimming in middle school for football and only came back to it during his last two years of high school.
Also important was his growth spurt. He stood a mere 5-foot-7 as a junior but a massive growth spurt starting his senior year saw him shoot up to 6-foot-5.
Even though Patrick and Jeannie Dwyer leave for London on July 26, they won’t see their until after he finishes competition. “The swimmers are pretty regimented,” Jeannie Dwyer said, “My job is to cheer him on and encourage him,” she said.