Mike Troy grew up in Indiana swimming for the Indianapolis Athletic Club (IAC).
In the fall of 1957, Bill Despres from North Carolina came to the IAC as Coach, and Dr. James Counsilman moved from New York to coach Indiana University. During summer of 1958, Doc drove up from Bloomington daily to coach the morning practices at Broad Riple pool and began a significant relationship coaching IAC swimmers in the summer.
It should come to no surprise that Mike Troy (along with IAC swimmers Frank McKinney, Bill Barton, Bill Cass and Marty Sommers) eventually went on to swim for Doc Counsilman at Indiana University. Leading up to the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Troy was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
What really matters to him are the battle insignia: a sign reading “The Olympic Games begin August 25. Be there“; a list showing the best times of the world’s five fastest butterflyers; a chart of his own best times; and above everything on the board, in garish, black letters a foot high, the word: PAIN. “That reminds me to swim until it hurts,” Troy says, “and then swim some more.” – Sports Illustrated, August 1, 1960
In Rome, Troy brought home Gold in the 200 Fly (2:12.8) and as a part of the 800 Free Relay. While I couldn’t find any footage from the 1960 Olympics, here’s the 220 yard butterfly from AAU Nationals in 1961 held at Yale University. It’s absolutely hilarious to think they stopped the time as they breached the flags.
Troy went on to become a Navy SEAL and was awarded the Silver Star for his courage and actions during the Vietnam War. Later, he got into coaching and created the “Gold Medal Swim School” in Chandler, Arizona. The 50th Anniversary of winning the 200 Fly came in 2010. He celebrated with Misty Hyman, an Arizona native, who was celebrating her 10th Anniversary. In an article from the The Arizona Republic, Troy provided incredible insight into his mindset.
“We had the picture of the Olympic medal on the wall on our bulletin board at the pool. It was just a black-and-white photograph. There was no frame around it, just the medal. I used to say, “I’m going to the Olympics, I’m going to win a medal, I’m going to win the gold medal.” I was so convinced like Cassius Clay saying I’m the greatest there is, I kept saying to myself, “I’m going to win, I’m going to win, I’m going to win. All I have to do is go to Rome and pick it up.” I envisioned in my own mind that my name was engraved on the side of that, which I thought was very thick. Michael Francis Troy in beautiful script, much better than I could write.” – Mike Troy