Conor Dwyer temporarily moved across the country after losing his top training partners, Michael Phelps and Yannick Agnel, in a matter of weeks.
Dwyer left his Baltimore base for the West Coast to train for his next major meet, the World Short Course Championships in Doha from Dec. 3-7.
“Once everyone left, that’s why I just wanted to go out, enjoy some sun, train outside and kind of figure out what I’m doing,” said Dwyer, who trained in Los Angeles and at altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz., and stayed with family the last month.
Dwyer was just coming back from deviated septum surgery when he woke to the news of Phelps’ DUI arrest on Sept. 30.
“I hadn’t gotten to speak to [Phelps] much about what happened,” Dwyer said while visiting New York last week. “Obviously, I told him I’m there for him. He’s a good guy through and through. [Phelps is] just trying to take care of business. We know he’ll be back.”
Agnel, who beat Dwyer for World Championships 200m freestyle gold in 2013, announced his departure from North Baltimore Aquatic Club two weeks before Phelps’ arrest. Agnel went back to France but said he left on good terms with North Baltimore coach Bob Bowman.
Phelps can’t swim competitively for another five months. He’s also out of the World Championships next August.
Phelps entered a six-week program to get help last month. It was unknown if or when he would return to training under Bowman at North Baltimore.
“I miss training with them,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer said Bowman is still his full-time coach, and the swimmer is still affiliated with North Baltimore, but hasn’t set plans beyond short course Worlds in December. Bowman agreed with how Dwyer described it.
Out west, the swimmer’s been training with a group under veteran coaches Dave Salo and Jon Urbanchek.
Dwyer won the USA Swimming Grand Prix series overall title this past season, performing the best over months’ worth of domestic competitions.
He hopes to make his second Olympic team in 2016 by qualifying in five individual events, but Dwyer only managed to make the 2015 World Championships team in one of them (200m free).
Phelps’ absence at Worlds makes Dwyer a more vital part of the U.S.’ 4x100m and 4x200m free relay teams. Dwyer won Olympic gold in the 4x200m free in London.