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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Olympic Swimmer Matt Grevers

Matt Grevers
Al Bello, Getty Images

US Olympian Matt Grevers, 27, will compete at the Summer Olympics in London at the end of this month. After hauling in three medals in Beijing in 2008, Grevers has trained diligently and seems destined to add to his personal medal count in 2012.

A specialist in freestyle and the backstroke, Grevers’ talent is an indication of just how deep the American men’s swimming team is. Here are 10 things you may not know about Matt Grevers:

Fast Facts About Matt Grevers

Matt Grevers was born on March 26, 1985 in Lake Forest, Illinois, just north of Chicago. He led Lake Forest High School to its first-ever state championship. While he attended Northwestern University, Grevers was a 27-time All-American and four-time NCAA Champion.

Grevers has 2,000 Facebook likes, and his Twitter account has nearly 3,000 followers. Both totals figure to rise as the Olympics draw near.

He Is A Versatile Talent

Matt Grevers
Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Grevers will swim the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke in London. He may still be selected for the 400-meter freestyle relay team. With teammates Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary well ahead of his time in the 200-meter backstroke, Grevers dropped out of that event to concentrate on his other specialties.

He Almost Swam For Another Country

Grevers’ mother and father, Ed and Anja Grevers, are both from the Netherlands, thus providing Matt with dual citizenship. Prior to 2008, Grevers considered representing his parents’ home country in the Olympics, but instead decided to attempt to qualify for the US team, despite it being much more competitive.

He Just Came Out of a Slump in a Big Way

Matt Grevers
Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Grevers won a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke in Beijing in 2008. His time of 53.11 was just 0.57 seconds behind the winner, world record holder Aaron Peirsol of the US. Peirsol is now retired, but Grevers’ path to gold has not been clear. Despite his Beijing success, Grevers did not qualify for the world championships in the 100-meter backstroke in 2010 or 2011. Fortunately, Grevers was back in form at the Olympic Trials, winning the 100-meter backstroke in 52.08 seconds, just 14-hundreths of a second off Peirsol’s world record time.

He Won Two Gold Medals Without Getting In The Pool For the Finals

Grevers won two gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, even though he only swam in the preliminary heats of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and 4×100-meter medley relay. The US team eventually won those events, and medals are given to all team members who participated.

He Spends 24 Hours in the Pool Each Week

Matt Grevers
Al Bello, Getty Images

Grevers swims four hours per day, six days a week. That’s a full day in the pool each week. In addition to the pool, Grevers has spent more time running, lifting and cross-training. He lost 10 pounds off his gigantic six-foot-eight frame and is much more defined than he was in 2008.

He’s Part of a Swimming Family

Grevers’ mother, Anja, is a swim coach. Matt credits her for helping introduce him to competitive swimming, as well as understanding the sport from the perspective of a coach and a parent of an athlete. Additionally, Grevers’ older sister, Carolyn, swam for the University of Kansas, while older brother Andy swam for Northern Illinois.

He Proposed to His Fiancee Near the Pool

This past February, Grevers proposed to girlfriend Annie Chandler from the medal stand of the Missouri Grand Prix just after he won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke. Chandler is also a candidate for the US swim team. She finished fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke final at the trials, but she is still hopeful to make the team in another event.

He’s a Huge World of Warcraft Player

While many wannabe jocks or other sports fans might mock players of World of Warcraft, the massive online multi-player game, they might not do so if they realized the six-foot-eight Grevers was one of those players.

He Has Several Nicknames

In addition to getting the nickname ‘Nu’ from his obsession with World of Warcraft, Grevers is also nicknamed ‘Dutch’ because of his parents’ Dutch heritage. Grevers is also referred to as ‘The Gentle Giant,’ a nod to his imposing physical stature. In additional to standing six-foot-eight, Grevers weighs roughly 225 pounds and wears a size 17 shoe.

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