Matt Grevers’ honeymoon will seem forever like a golden anniversary.
Grevers and his wife of four months, Annie Chandler Grevers, are using their trip to Barcelona for the World Swimming Championships as precursor to a European honeymoon postponed so he could make the U.S. team for the meet.
Tuesday, the Olympic champion from Lake Forest and Northwestern also took advantage of the journey to earn his first individual event world gold medal, winning the 100-meter backstroke ahead of teammate David Plummer.
“I like to do it up big,” Grevers said via telephone from Barcelona. “The proposal and now this.”
In February 2012, Grevers dropped to a knee on the awards podium where Chandler, a former swimmer, had presented him the first-place medal at a grand prix meet in Columbia, Mo. He popped the question, dug a ring box out of his warm-up pants and gave it to Chandler.
On a strong day for Team USA, including Grevers’ victory and a stunning world record by 16-year-old Katie Ledecky in the 1,500 freestyle, Winnetka’s Conor Dwyer pitched in a surprise silver medal in the 200 free.
Ledecky’s time of 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds took 6.01 seconds from the world record set by Kate Ziegler of the U.S. in 2007.
Grevers, who won the 100 back at the 2012 Olympics, on Tuesday clocked 52.93 to 53.12 for Plummer.
After a late return to serious training because of obligations related to his Olympic success and wedding, Grevers knew he was adding pressure by thinking of worlds as a way to travel overseas for the honeymoon. He made it happen with a second place in the 100 back last month at the U.S. championships.
Although he has two races left at worlds — 50 back and medley relay — Grevers, 28, is allowing himself to imagine the honeymoon phase now that the 100 is over. It is a seven-day Mediterranean cruise with stops in Spain and Italy.
“I'm already thinking I'm on that boat,” he said.
A couple of months ago, Michael Phelps gave Dwyer a place to live in Baltimore when Dwyer moved to train with Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman. On Monday, Phelps gave Dwyer the gibe that spurred him in the 200 free.
“Michael was texting me yesterday to stop taking it out like a little girl, so I wanted to take it out faster,” Dwyer said.
Although he did that, the Loyola Academy grad still was fifth with a lap to go as his new training partner, Yannick Agnel of France, took a commanding lead. But Dwyer had enough left to reach the finish in 1:45.32, nearly a second faster than his personal best. Agnel won in 1:44.20.
It was the first individual medal for Dwyer — in the worlds or Olympics. He won gold at the London Games in the 800 free relay.