Swimming is over and now it's raining in London. Can we ever get away from water? ~ Olympic swimmer Connor Jaeger's dad Eric after the finals via Twitter.
Olympic swimmer Connor Jaeger’s dad Eric will be the first to tell you that his modest, unassuming son really doesn’t like to be the center of attention.
While people in Fair Haven really do want to respect Connor’s wishes, they just can’t help themselves. They’re proud of him. They like him. And they think he deserves some sort of recognition and, yes, fanfare, for what they think is a major accomplishment in life — becoming the sixth best swimmer in the world.
The 21-year-old student at Michigan University and graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School did not get a medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics, but, as the marquee at the Fair Haven firehouse read, people in his hometown see the young man as "6th in the World ... 1st in Fair Haven."
So, when he returns home next week, the town where he lives wants to do something to welcome him back with style.
"I think a genuine firehouse escort is going to make a nice homecoming for Connor," resident and fireman Tom Kirman said on the Fair Haven Facebook page before the final race. And he's sticking with that plan now — depending.
It has not been decided just yet exactly how borough officials plan to give Connor that celebratory welcome while trying very hard to keep it low-keyed enough to make it a Connor Jaeger-style event, Mayor Ben Lucarelli said.
But, there will be something.
Lucarelli said he's not sure if there will be some sort of motorcade on the evening Connor returns or a parade a couple of days later.
It all depends on the feedback they get from the family on what would not be too overwhelming and bright a spotlight for Connor, who, from all accounts of his mother, Bernadette, would probably be very content to forego the attention for a chicken parm sandwich and a nap.
The exact time of Connor's return to Fair Haven has not yet been pinned down, either. According to most feedback they've gotten from the family, it looks like he'll be back in town Monday, but when, exactly, no one is certain. And going from a plane to a motorcade may just be a bit too much for the modest and assumingly exhausted Olympian.
Officials will be meeting tonight to make a decision about the form of celebration that will transpire, Lucarelli said. Patch will keep you posted.
In the meantime, here's a recount of Connor Jaeger's favorite things that officials may or may not want to somehow include in his homecoming celebration:
• lifeguarding at the Morris Avenue station of Long Branch beach
• Central Jersey Aquatic Club
• his big sister, Dana, self-proclaimed number one fan and fellow swimmer
• chicken parmigiana
• his family and friends
Any other suggestions? Tell us in the comments section below.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the attached YouTube videos of Connor Jaeger moments up to and including making the 2012 USA Olympic Swim Team.