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Men’s Swimming: Sophomore Dyer leads team with record times, personality

Megan Golden | Monday, November 7, 2011

Irish sophomore freestyle swimmer Frank Dyer takes a step out of the pool between setting records. Dyer also performs on the stage and in the kitchen.

Residing in Stanford Hall, Dyer and his five roommates have developed a recent obsession with the Food Network. The group of friends gathers around the television every Tuesday night for the latest episode of “Chopped” and the possibility of Dyer’s occasional commercial break performances.

Meanwhile, Dyer’s love for music led him to join the on-campus a capella group, Halftime, at the start of this school year. Anyone who knows him says he is unafraid to share his passion for music with others.

“He really likes to sing,” Dyer’s roommate and junior swimming co-captain Chris Johnson said. “That kid will sing anything that he knows the words to.”

Dyer admitted that he will sing along to a catchy pop song, especially if Rihanna’s “We Found Love” comes on the loud speakers.

“I guess when I’m around I’m just kind of a jubilant person, and I like to sing,” Dyer said. “I guess I do sing, but it’s not like when I’m in the room I’m just like ‘laaa.’ I will just break out in song when I feel like it.”

Rolfs Aquatic Center occasionally plays music on the underwater speakers, something Dyer enjoys at practice. He said the women’s swimming team is responsible for creating the playlist, which received his stamp of approval.

Also a fan of HGTV and Travel Channel, Dyer is pursuing a career in business entertainment, with particular dreams of working behind the scenes of one of his favorite television shows.

Dyer’s infatuation with the Food Network has created a food critic in the swimmer, who said he enjoys critiquing meals prepared by different restaurants. He offered his own analysis of the food in his nearest kitchen, North Dining Hall.

“Obviously the things produced on Food Network look more delicious than the food at North [Dining Hall],” he said. “Every time I watch the Food Network, it always makes me hungry. North is fine, it’s just not the Food Network.”

The 6’4″ former basketball player from Albany, N.Y., said he has a new appreciation for his father’s home-cooked meals.

“My dad makes really good baked ziti. I really like rigatoni noodles with melted mozzarella cheese on top,” he said. “Actually, they always use ricotta cheese on “Chopped,” and I absolutely hate ricotta cheese. It’s the grossest thing. It must be some texture thing; I just don’t like it. [There is] no ricotta cheese in the baked ziti my dad makes, and that’s really, really good.”

In the pool, Dyer impressed all of his teammates and coaches last year with a record-setting freshman season. He currently holds the school record for the 100, 200 and 500-yard freestyle races.

“[Last year’s seniors] were very, very good, and I kind of learned quietly, just did what I was told and kept a positive attitude,” Dyer said. “We have a goal sheet every year, and my goal time was to beat [the 500-yard freestyle record]. Not that I didn’t think I was going to do it, but I was just kind of shocked when it really happened. I had been looking forward to it for so long, and when goals like that actually happen, it’s a really good feeling.”

Aside from the occasional “pump-up” music underwater at Rolfs, Dyer said he motivates himself by maintaining a positive attitude even during challenging days at practice.

“I don’t think people know that swimming, it’s just like the worst sport ever to do because it’s hard all the time, and practices are just brutal,” he said. “It’s physical and mental all the time. It’s so easy to hate the sport, but you can’t hate it because if you’re at this level, you have to love it to some degree because it’s what you do.”

Offering fans the secret to his success, Dyer said that he has discovered the breakfast of champions.

“I definitely like to make my own omelets in the dining hall,” he said. “[I add] tomatoes, bacon, green peppers and cheese, except I can’t make omelets, so I just make scrambled eggs. I put them in in the make-your-own-omelet line, except I just scramble them up because I can’t flip an omelet.”

Dyer and the Irish will return to the pool Saturday at Louisville at 1 p.m., and he will be in concert with Halftime on Dec. 8.