Swimmers prepare for London, wedding

Feb. 14, 2012, 1:23 p.m. (ET)

Olympic medalist swimmer Matt Grevers proposed to his longtime love and fellow elite swimmer, Annie Chandler, at the Missouri Grand Prix. The proposal, in time with Valentine’s Day, has become a YouTube sensation. Both hope to compete in London this summer.

Matt Grevers had a simple mission to accomplish on Saturday: He was just a nervous guy trying to propose to his girlfriend.

He dropped down to one knee and asked his longtime love, Annie Chandler, to marry him. She was stunned, started crying tears of joy, and said yes.

Grevers and Chandler are both members of USA Swimming’s National Team, having first met five years ago on the pool deck of the University of Arizona. Grevers, who went on to win two relay golds and a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, knew he wanted to do something special to surprise Chandler. They’re both training for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials and hope to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“I was absolutely worried, because I was like 99 percent sure but had a little ounce of doubt,” Grevers said on Monday about whether his proposal would be successful. “I mean, you never know until you’re there. It was a risk.

“I know it took her by surprise, so I made sure, I asked her, ‘Are you saying yes?’ And she said she was.”

But this proposal story is a bit more complicated — in a sweet, romantic comedy kind of way — than just a guy, a girl and a 1 ½ carat diamond ring.

Grevers, 26, had an inkling that Chandler, 24, would accept his proposal, but it was still a risk to publicly declare his love while on the medal stand at the Missouri Grand Prix. He had just won the 100-meter backstroke final, and organizers arranged it so Chandler would give him the medal.

Grevers’ brother, Andy, had the ring and passed it to Matt after the race, so he was ready to go. Organizers asked Chandler to join Grevers for a photo on top of the winner’s podium, and the surprise was on when he dropped to one knee.

The couple admitted it was a fashion risk to be proposing half-dressed, with Chandler wearing a warm-up jacket and a towel over her swimsuit and Grevers shirtless, only clad in his suit and some sweatpants thrown over it.

Things could have been worse. A meet coordinator, who had conspired with Grevers, convinced Chandler to take off her swim cap and put on a jacket — otherwise the proposal would have come while she was only in a swimsuit.

After the proposal, the pair got down off the medal stand and started receiving hugs and well-wishes from coaches and fellow swimmers on the pool deck. Grevers’ parents were in stands, knowing in advance that their son was going to propose.

This proposal was recorded and has gone viral (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LWvLNgh2-c) on YouTube. More than 80,000 have watched it online, and even more have seen the proposal on various websites and TV newscasts. Getting to watch a proposal from start to finish, so close to Valentine’s Day, has proven quite popular.

Grevers said the timing of his proposal was coincidental to Valentine’s Day, as he was just ready to ask Chandler to marry him. And no, he’s not looking to top himself today, Feb. 14.

Most proposals are usually a private affair. Grevers and Chandler are happy to share their good news with the world, getting a kick out of watching the YouTube numbers grow as their story spreads.

Chandlers’ parents weren’t at the meet, but they also got to share in her proposal by watching the video. Grevers and Chandler have watched the video a few times too, enjoying the reaction of those around them watching the proposal unfold.

“I think it’s cool that this could put a smile on a stranger’s face,” Chandler said. “Those are our genuine feelings for each other, on the world stage. It’s definitely not what we expected; it’s a pretty nice blessing to come out of it (to have people like the video).

“It’s going to be a cool thing to have in family for years.”

The pair is looking at a 2013 wedding, ruling out 2012 as potentially being a bit busy — especially this summer.

“We’re not in a huge rush; I’m going to leave that one up to Annie and Mrs. Chandler,” Grevers said. “I think I’ve done my part in this. I’m done.”

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Joanne C. Gerstner is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.