IN 2015, BROKE THE AMERICAN RECORD IN THE 1,500 METER AND 1,650 YARD FREESTYLES  •  WON THE SILVER MEDAL IN THE 1,500 METER FREESTYLE AT THE 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS   •  WINNER OF 2014 GOLDEN GOGGLES "RACE OF THE YEAR"   •  VOTED 2014 "MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR" BY SWIMSWAM.COM  •  2012 U.S. OLYMPIAN (6TH - 1500M FREESTYLE)  •  2013 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BRONZE MEDALIST (400M FREESTYLE)  •  AMERICAN RECORD HOLDER IN THE 1,650 YARD FREESTYLE   •  THREE-TIME NCAA CHAMPION; TEN-TIME NCAA ALL-AMERICAN  •  DETROIT ATHLETIC CLUB "MICHIGAN MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR" 2012/2013 & 2013/2014
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Connor Jaeger

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Personal Info

Born On:  Apr. 30, 1991
Hometown:  Fair Haven, NJ
Resides:  Ann Arbor, MI
Education:  University of Michigan '14
Height:  6'1"

Biography

A new challenge, a new champion. . .

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

This famous John Lennon quote is reflected in Connor Jaeger’s path to the Olympic Games. If anyone had told Jaeger one year prior the 2012 Olympics that the longest pool race (the 1,500-meter freestyle) would become his specialty event… and that he would be an Olympic finalist in that race - Jaeger probably would have laughed. That’s because just one year before the 2012 Summer Olympics, Jaeger had never swum the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Out of high school Jaeger was recruited as a very good middle-distance swimmer.  He had a strong 200 and 500-yard freestyle. Upon entering college, however, Jaeger needed to add a third event to fill out his competition schedule. At the time, it seemed that the “obvious” new race would be the 200-yard butterfly – a grueling race, but one that would be over in less than two minutes.  However, Jaeger now reflects that while he didn’t perform up to his standards in any event during his first year at Michigan, his “200 fly was particularly bad.” So Connor went on a quest for a solution.

The summer after Jaeger’s Freshman year, the longer races came more naturally. At the end of Summer Nationals Jaeger remembers going up to University of Michigan Head Coach, Mike Bottom and telling him that he would like to do the 1,650-yard freestyle (“the mile”) the next college season if collectively they thought he could be better at it than the 200 fly. As it turns out, Coach Bottom was already thinking the same thing. The move stuck, and as Jaeger relates: “After that I was moved to the distance group and haven't been back since.” Jaeger’s first ever mile race came mid-season of his sophomore year – Fall 2011. His time was a 14:55 - a result that immediately qualified him for the NCAA Championships.

Then just a few months later: Jaeger placed 2nd at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1500-meter freestyle. He then went on to finish 6th at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It is often said that Champions define themselves when the “going gets tough” – not when he or she is on top.  Jaeger became a Champion after that difficult freshman year of college.

People of all ages and professions can learn from Jaeger's adaptability and his willingness to accept new challenges. Jaeger has also had to battle training and competing with asthma, a condition that he was diagnosed with while at Michigan. Jaeger wasn't a swimmer who decided at a young age what events he was going to swim. He had no pre-conceived notion of how he was going to train. Jaeger paid attention to his environment. He was aware of his strengths, weaknesses...and adapted. He was never stubborn about following a particular path. Rather when he got to a sticking point in his progression, he invited change.  

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, and sometimes all success takes is a little bit of a different perspective.