Favorite athlete: Chase Kalisz – 2016 Olympic athlete in IM
Favorite team: Virginia Tech Football
Favorite memory competing in sports: The team travel meet to California. It was a great experience to travel with 20 other swimmers to compete as well as to go on adventures throughout the trip.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: At a swim meet in Baltimore, one teammate was competing in the mile. On the dive, the back part of his bathing suit slid down exposing his butt for 66 laps. It was very uncomfortable, especially on the flip turns.
Music on iPod: Mac Miller, Meek Mill, Kanye West
Future plans: I will be attending Virginia Tech to study biology to work with pharmaceutical research. I plan to swim there for the next four years to compete in the ACC and NCAA.
Words to live by: “Just Do It”
One goal before turning 30: To own a house by the beach.
One thing people don’t know about me: I surf during the summer, and I am a beach lifeguard.
By Craig Ostroff
Pennsbury swim coach Greg Stoloski believes that Connor Doyle will leave an indelible mark on the program after he swims the final laps of his senior campaign this season. The fact that Doyle’s name will appear throughout the Falcons’ record books—not to mention atop pool records across the Suburban One League and the district—will attest to that.
And while team and pool records, first-place finishes, and district and state success are definite goals, Doyle is making sure his legacy amounts to more than medals.
“Being with everyone at Pennsbury is very different from my club team,” said Doyle, who swims club for the elite Eastern Express program. “Everyone is there to be friends (at Pennsbury), and they want to train hard and do well. It’s very friendly and very close. I enjoy being with the guys and motivating them if I can.
“Swimming can be an individual sport, so I want to be there for people to rely on if they need it. ‘How do I pace the 500 free?’ Or someone will ask for advice on the 200 IM, I can help them. Or if someone has a bad race, I can help them to shake it off and focus on their next race. I’m loud and always cheering on the deck. When I see kids that break out and have a great race, I’ll be screaming on deck for them. It’s great to see kids trying so hard and finding success. I just try to show them how to work hard.”
There are few better examples of how hard work and dedication pays off. Just a few of Doyle’s accomplishments include team records in the 200 IM (1:53.14), 100 back (50.26), and 100 breast (1:00.27) as well as swimming on the Pennsbury record-holding 200 medley relay and 400 free relay; 2016 High Point runner-up with 124 individual points; First-Team All-League honors in four events; two first-place finishes at last season’s SOL National Conference Championship meet; six automatic District Qualifying times; bronze medals in the 200 IM and 100 back at the 2015 District One Championships; and the 2014 and 2015 Pennsbury Outstanding Swimmer Award.
And that doesn’t even take into consideration his performances around the country in meets including the Summer Junior Nationals and the Speedo Championship Series.
Yet despite his successes both locally and nationally, Doyle carries himself no differently than any other member of the team.
“Connor is the best male swimmer to come through the program and probably the best who ever will,” Stoloski said. “But he’s a really humble kid. He doesn’t walk around like a superstar, he has no ego. He’s a leader because of his success and his work ethic and the role model he is for the younger kids, but he’s also a member of the team.
“He’s a kid who takes every race seriously, gives his best every time, and he helps the other kids work toward their goals as well. To see him work hard in practice, or work hard in a meet we’re winning, helps others stay focused and pumped. And he gets along great with everybody.”
That’s important for Doyle, who remembers coming into the program as a speedy freshman. Despite finishing ahead of older swimmers in individual events, and likely taking the place of upperclassmen in relays, Doyle said he never felt anything but acceptance and friendship from the rest of the team.
“I always felt like they loved watching me race, they were so proud when I did well,” he said. “Every time I won, they’d always be on the deck chanting, ‘He’s a freshman.’ That made me feel so special. They were always supportive of me, especially the seniors.”
Doyle made an immediate impact for Pennsbury, and next year, he’ll have the opportunity to do the same when he swims for Virginia Tech. And while Doyle had been looking to swim for a Division I program in college, it was his seventh-place finish in the 200 back at the Junior Nationals over the summer that sparked more Division I schools to look at him.
“Getting to the finals in the 200 back was important for me because these are the guys I’d be swimming against in college, and it let me know that I can actually compete at the highest level for college,” Doyle said. “Though I’ve always been training that way, that gave me more confidence that I do belong in a top swimming school.”
Having caught the eye of the Hokie swimming staff at Junior Nationals, a visit to the Blacksburg, Va., campus and a dinner for team members and potential recruits helped convince Doyle that this was where he wanted to spend his next four years.
“It really felt like a family, everyone cared about each other, people were coming up getting to know me as a person, not just a swimmer,” he said.
The facilities, the support system, and the school’s biology program helped seal the deal.
“Connor is the type of guy that’s going to deliver almost immediately for them,” Stoloski said. “He’s focused, he listens, he learns, and he works really hard. I can’t imagine he’s going to do anything other than inspire others to work hard. He’s the type of swimmer and the type of kid who’s going to make a difference immediately.”
His versatility will also be a key to his ability to contribute. An IM specialist, Doyle excels in all four strokes (though he admits the butterfly is his weakest) and is always eager to swim anywhere he’s needed. In fact, he insists on mixing it up whenever possible.
“I actually make sure I do all the events at least three times a year,” Doyle said. “I love competing and I love seeing what I can do. I’ll do anything. One of my best swims over the summer was my mile. I’m not great at it, but I can hold my own. I did the mile in California during a meet, and I did well.”
Doyle—whose parents were both avid swimmers (his father swam competitively in college)—has been in the pool for as long as he can remember, and he was always drawn to swimming over the other sports offered to youngsters in the community.
“I really was not good at anything else. I’m really bad on land,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t even run. So I really had no choice but to stick with swimming.”
Few would second-guess that decision. And as his senior season in the pool for the Falcons looms, both Doyle and Stoloski know that the sky is the limit for what he can accomplish. Though Doyle is preparing for the Winter Junior Nationals and will likely not participate in a Pennsbury dual meet until later in December, he’s setting his sights extremely high. Because while he wants to be remembered as being a supportive teammate, individual and team titles are pretty nice, too.
“I’m not really sure what Connor’s limits are going to be this year,” Stoloski said. “He could potentially go to states in almost any event. By the end of the year, I expect we’re going to clear off the record board. We’re going to watch record board show his name a whole lot. I know he’s focused on getting to districts and getting to the state meet. I think he’s going to be phenomenal this year.”
“Individually, in the pool, I would love to get to states, win the 200 IM and 100 breast,” Doyle said. “I’d love to win at Districts and SOLs, see the team win, get some relays qualified.
“And I want to keep helping out the other guys where I can, and keep being the guy cheering them on from the deck. I enjoy being there for my team, that’s what I love most—being positive and being there for everyone. I never want to stop being that person on deck. That’s the most important thing, being there for each other.”