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As Winnetka native Conor Dwyer swam to victory in London, he had an entire school of supporters cheering him on thousands of miles away.
"He pushed himself in practice every day," said Dennis Stonequist, Dwyer's former coach from Loyola Academy, at a Tuesday rally.
In London, Dwyer pushed himself all the way to his first gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Fans gathered for a viewing party and rally at Stony's Tavern and Grill in nearby Northfield while around 40 friends and family members watched him in-person in London. Before Dwyer's big win, they were anticipating and hoping for the best, even asking for divine intervention at a Loyola Academy mass celebrated Tuesday.
"I'm so nervous and praying like crazy for Conor," said rally organizer Katie Green.
One of Dwyer's former teammates came out to support him, describing the local Olympian as an inspiration.
"He's a hero," said Brian Danhulseman. "I beat his time in high school. I'm thinking maybe I could be the next Conor Dwyer."
The current Conor Dwyer has undoubtedly brought a great deal of pride to his hometown as well as his alma mater.
"I think his win is incredible," said supporter Nicole Pinelli. "It brought joy to Loyola Academy, Wilmette, and all of Chicago."