Matt Grevers is a swimmer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Matt Grevers qualified for the Olympics by winning the 100m back at U.S. Trials with the second fastest 100m backstroke time in the history of the event (52.08). He was also third in the 100m freestyle, earning him a spot on the 4x100m freestyle relay team. The results marked a resurgence in Grevers' career; After admittedly over-training in 2010 ("The hardest I ever worked was in 2010," he said.), he failed to qualify for a spot on the U.S. team for the 2011 Worlds in Shanghai.

At the Missouri Grand Prix on Feb. 11, 2012, Grevers proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Annie Chandler, also a swimmer at Arizona. He told himself prior to the 100m back that if he won the race, he was going to propose. Grevers had originally wanted to propose over Christmas, but Chandler's father wanted to get to know him better. Once that happened, Grevers had his blessing. His original plan was to award the medals of the women's 100m breast at the Missouri Grand Prix, and propose to Chandler, a talented swimmer, on the medal stand. But Chandler finished fifth and didn't make the podium. "I'm standing by with my brother and my mom on the pool deck, and my dad's in the stands," Grevers told the New York Times. "They're cheering so loud for Annie. My mom's almost like hysterically cheering, saying, 'She's got to go faster!' During the awards ceremony, people were set up with cameras to take pictures of the proposal… I didn't know what to do."

Grevers' alternate plan was to propose after the 100m backstroke the next day — if he made the podium. So he asked the meet director to have Chandler present the awards after the race, then arranged for his friend and roommate (and fellow U.S. swimmer Clark Burckle) deliver the ring box to his mother, who would slip it into the pocket of his sweatpants. In the ready room, Grevers began to feel the jitters. "I compare the nerves to the Olympic final. I just needed the perfect race. I wanted to make sure I won so I wouldn't kind of trump the guy who won. I wanted to make sure I said everything well so the moment with Annie would be perfect." Grevers won by nearly two seconds. Chandler, who was warming up for a 200m breast race, wrapped a towel around her waist and made her way to the podium without even taking off her cap and goggles. Someone privy to Grevers's plans persuaded her to pull off her cap and goggles and put on a jacket. She started to walk away after the ceremony, but Grevers got her back to the podium by saying his mom wanted to take a picture. After that, he wouldn't let go. "I said, 'OK, your mom's got her photo,'" Chandler said. "I turned around, he said, 'I love you very much. Even at that point I didn't get it. Then I saw him slip down to one knee and saw the box in his hand and I realized what was happening. I was shocked. I looked around and saw all the stunned faces. The hardest thing is probably right after he proposed, I had to take the ring off five minutes later to do my 200m breast. I just wanted to look at it."

Grevers' first Olympic experience came at the 2008 Games, where he won two gold medals — in 400m freestyle relay and the 400m medley relay — and picked up a silver in the 100m backstroke. In the latter race, Grevers was beaten out by now retired American Aaron Peirsol, who he calls "the best backstroker ever," according to a 2008 Chicago Tribune article. Grevers said Peirsol showed him some pointers on his backstroke during a Team USA training camp in California before the Games. "I learned how he swims it," Grevers said. "I don't have the shoulder strength to do exactly what he does and the amount of water he's able to pull."

Grevers qualified for Beijing by finishing second in the 100m backstroke, behind Peirsol. The race's deep field meant any of four men could have made the team and that the qualifiers would be top contenders for the gold in Beijing. Grevers beat out Ryan Lochte and Randall Bal for the second spot, but he didn't know it right away: he doesn't wear his contacts when he swims, and he couldn't read the scoreboard. "I was looking, and I was like, 'I think that says second,' and I looked behind me and I see my parents screaming, my whole family was going nuts," Grevers said. "So much pressure right then was just released." He also qualified for the 4x100m free relay by finishing fifth in the 100m freestyle.

Coming into the 2008 Trials, Grevers said he had high expectations but not in backstroke, since he hadn't trained for it all year. "If you had asked me a couple weeks ago, I would have said absolutely not," Grevers said. "I thought I was going to kick a lot of butt in the freestyles and the fly, and the exact opposite happened." In fact, Grevers had to decide between the 100m back and 200m free, which were on the same night. He wanted to swim the freestyle, but his coach, Rick DeMont, persuaded him to swim the backstroke. In prelims and semifinals, Grevers said he was able to hold back but still felt comfortable. "I thought, 'I can drop some time and maybe sneak up on these guys,' " Grevers said. "But I didn't want them thinking about me."

Grevers' parents are both from the Netherlands, and before they moved to the U.S., his mother, Anja, was an elite swimmer, and his father, Ed, played water polo. Anja competed at the Dutch Olympics Trials. Grevers and his family made annual trips there during the summer. Back in 2000, he considered representing the Netherlands at the Olympics, and he spoke to Dutch legend Pieter van den Hoogenband about the potential move. But Grevers ultimately decided he wanted to represent the U.S. at the top level.

After graduating from Northwestern in 2007, Grevers decided to move to Arizona to train. He had gone on a recruiting trip there in high school but ended up choosing Northwestern based solely on academics. "I wasn't really thinking about swimming," Grevers said. "I was thinking about education." But with his college education completed, he knew he needed to focus only on swimming leading up to Olympic Trials. "Going to Tucson first was kind of a hard change for me, but quickly I just fell in love with it," Grevers said. "The atmosphere is just perfect for swimming. Just really happy, relaxed and motivating."

Growing up outside Chicago, Grevers' family had an indoor pool at their home, where his mother taught swim lessons. His older sister, Carolyn, and older brother, Andy, started swimming first, and Matt eventually followed. Their mother, who is still a swim coach, taught them the basics. Carolyn, who competed with Matt at the 2000 Olympic Trials, went on to swim for Kansas and Andy for Northern Illinois.


How tall is he? How old is he? Where does he live? Find out here.

Age: 32 years old
Birthday: March 26, 1985
Height: 6' 8"
Weight: 229 lbs.
Birthplace: Lake Forest, IL
Current Residence: Tucson, AZ

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