Nov. 30, 2011
Senior swimmer Conor Evans is looking to end his Notre Dame career with a successful season. Evans, a native of Washington D.C., was a three-time MVP and team captain for The Heights School in Potomac, Md., before coming to swim for the Irish. UND.com’s Tom McGuire recently sat down with Evans to talk about his experiences at ND and his goals for this season.
Could you describe a typical practice schedule for the swim team?
We have practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. We also practice in the water Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday afternoons. We lift Tuesday and Thursday. There’s swimming and lifting Saturday morning and optional dry land workouts Monday morning. We have a pretty full training schedule.
How do you balance a busy schedule, class commitments, and everything else going on in your life?
Coach (Tim) Welsh told me in my freshman year that I needed to be a seven-day a week student, and that’s definitely true. Doing work on Sunday is pretty important. You just make sure you use the free time you do have to catch up on sleep and get extra work done.
If you could trade places with your coach for a day, what would you do?
I’d probably give morning practice off so we could get some extra sleep. And I’d definitely take the team out to Ruth’s Chris. I’m sure everyone would appreciate that!
What is most memorable about your high school years?
When I was a junior, I took a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago, Spain. I took a week off of school and did that with some guys from my school. It was an amazing experience, and I would definitely do it again if I could. My high school let us take time off to go take trips like that, and that was something that made our school unique. I’ll definitely remember that trip.
What is your major? Why did you choose that major?
I’m a history major. At the end of my freshman year, I met a lot of really great professors like Brad Gregory, Father Bob Sullivan and Father Bill Miscamble. They really got me interested in some of the classes they had to offer, and that led me to decide to major in history. It’s been a great academic experience–they have a lot of insight into things I’m really interested in.
What is your favorite memory with your teammates?
I’d go with the BIG EAST Championships my freshman year. Going into the last relay of the meet, we had to win the relay to win the meet. The four guys on the relay pulled out an upset over Louisville, who was the top seed, and we won the meet. It was a very narrow margin–it all came down to a couple tenths of a second between BIG EAST champions or finishing second. Being on the deck with my team when everyone rallied on the last day was a great experience.
What are your goals for this season, both personal and team?
As a team, we’re trying to reclaim the BIG EAST Championship and send swimmers and divers to the NCAAs in March. Personally, I’d like to beat my best times. This is my last year of swimming, and I’d really like to go out on a high note with my fastest times ever.
Who was your role model growing up? Why?
I think my dad was my role model. He was always supportive and always trying to do the best he did in his job. I saw that, and tried to emulate it.
Your dad is a professor in the Economics department. What’s it like having him on campus?
It’s kind of neat because I occasionally get to see him around campus. This semester, I’ve run into him at the dining hall a few times and had lunch with him, which is nice. It’s also great when they (parents) have tailgates before games; they’re a lot of fun to go to.
Who is your inspiration?
My inspiration is Saint Josemaria Escriva. He was a priest during the Spanish Civil War, and my high school exists because of him. Our school is very devoted to him, and he was canonized in 2002 by Pope John Paul II. He was called the “Saint of Ordinary Life”, and his whole thing was exhorting people to be faithful in ordinary, everyday life. He thought you didn’t have to be an extraordinary missionary to be a saint. When I was in high school, that was a big inspiration for me and it was still through college a big source of motivation. His example in the Spanish Civil War, when he put his own life in risk to minister to the people of his congregation, is an incredible inspiration to me.
What does being a part of the Fighting Irish program mean to you?
Representing Notre Dame is a great challenge and a great honor. We’re representing what the University stands for when we travel to meets, and it’s a great honor to be able to do that.
What would you like to be remembered for after leaving ND?
I’d like to be remembered for being reliable. If someone needs something done, I want to be remembered as someone who actually did it.
Who is your favorite professional athlete? Why?
This is a bit obscure, but I’d go with soccer player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He was a great professional, and was a class act whenever he played. I’m not a huge Manchester United fan, but I do like Ole Solskjaer.
Do you have any nicknames? How did you get them?
“Stork” has been my nickname since my first day on campus. I got that from the seniors my first day here, and ever since I’ve been on the swim team as that and exclusively that. I’ve been “Stork” since I got here.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t know if this is crazy, but I camped out in the Grand Canyon when it was 10 degrees out sophomore year. It was snowing and really cold, but a lot of fun.
It’s your senior year. Does this year feel different from the ones before? Have you approached it any differently?
It does, this is the culmination of my swimming career. Instead of focusing on long-term improvements, it’s time for short-term results. I’m trying to go out and make this my best season ever.
North or South Dining Hall? Why?
Definitely, South. I live in Dillon, so South’s right next door.
What was the biggest thing that attracted you here to Notre Dame?
The Catholic character of Notre Dame really attracted me — that’s what set ND apart from every other school I was looking at.
What’s your favorite part of campus? Why?
The Grotto. I know that’s a typical answer, but it’s just a special place.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I have no rituals, but I’m told I fix my goggles way too much. I keep trying to take them off and put them back on.
— ND —