FALLS TOWNSHIP – After taking a third-place District 1 medal in the 200-yard IM and the 100 back as a sophomore, current Pennsbury senior Connor Doyle missed the swim meet last year.
With good reason.
Doyle was in Florida competing for a spot in the Olympic Trials at the Arena Pro Swim Series that took place last March in Orlando.
Of course, missing districts meant Doyle could not compete in states, where he garnered a sixth-place medal in 100 back and a 10-place trophy in the 200 IM in 2015.
“I wasn’t disappointed because it was an Olympic year and I was trying to get into the Olympic Trials,” explained Doyle, who had six automatic district qualifiers last year. “I was point-three off Olympic Trials junior year and I just wanted to focus on USA Swimming last year.”
While Doyle didn’t qualify for the Olympic Trials, he finished among the top eight in the 200 breast – where he competed against Olympic Medalist Michael Phelps – and also did well in the 200 back. Another bonus to his performance in the Florida meet was a berth in Junior Nationals held last summer in Minnesota.
At Junior Nationals, Doyle finished among the top eight in the 200 back and turned in a ninth-place finish in the 200 IM.
With no Olympics this year, Connor plans on taking districts and states by surprise.
“This year, I plan on winning states,” said Doyle, who was named the Falcons’ Most Outstanding Swimmer in 2014 and again in 2015. “I guess the competition doesn’t really remember me because I’ve been away for a year. I’m looking forward to just returning and winning.
“I’m not going to show up on last year’s results so they don’t expect me.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Pennsbury’s West Campus, Doyle also revealed his college intentions for the 2017-18 campaign. After considering offers from Duke and Indiana, Doyle has decided on Virginia Tech.
“When I got to Virginia Tech, the coaches were just very supportive from the beginning.
“They were very welcoming. I knew that I wanted to be there because of the hard training. That’s all the kids do there. I just want to train hard with them for the next four years.
“They had the best resources I’ve seen – great pools, great nutrition facilities; it was just awesome.”
At Pennsbury, Connor has definitely made the most of his time with the Falcons. With Doyle’s help, the team has gone unbeaten in the Suburban One National League the past two seasons.
When he’s not swimming for the Orange and Black, he competes for Eastern Express based at The College of New Jersey. But Doyle also likes swimming on this side of the Delaware.
“Swimming for Pennsbury has definitely helped me improve, based on getting to swim with a different type of crowd,” said Doyle.
“I’m a New Jersey swimmer for my club team and at Pennsbury, we’ll do Pennsylvania states so I get a lot of new competition. It gives me a lot more opportunities to race people within this state.”
Doyle said he’s enjoyed every moment helping the Falcons claim back-to-back SOL National crowns. He’s a member of the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay that have set school records. He owns the school record in 200 IM, 100 back and the 100 breast.
“I love competing with these guys and I’ve met a lot of kids here,” said Doyle.
“Competing in SOLs and dual meets – I’m definitely here for Pennsbury to compete with them and help bring up the team.”
Doyle’s postseason accolades last year included First Team All-Suburban One National League nods in 200 IM, 100 back, 200 free relay and the 400 free relay. He was also the 2016 High Point runner up with 124 individual points.