A native of Shavertown, Penn. Timothy O'Donnell is familiar with many parts of this country due to corporate transfers with his father's profession. O'Donnell has lived in many states including Florida, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is where he spent the majority of his high school years attending Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School. While in high school, O'Donnell was captain of the varsity swim team, where he set multiple school records, earning repeated district championships and All-State honors. Timothy graduated in 1999 in the top five percent of his class, earning recognition from the Cum Laude Society as well as the Scholar-Athlete award.
Shortly following high school graduation, O'Donnell reported to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. There O'Donnell had a familiar comfort because his older brother, LCDR Thomas O'Donnell, was then a senior at the Academy. Timothy was initially a member of the Varsity Swim Team until his brother convinced him to try out for the Triathlon Team as well. At the start of his junior year he devoted his time fully to triathlon. Success in the sport soon followed as he led the Naval Academy Men's Team to two US National Triathlon Championship titles.
O'Donnell excelled in other aspects of life at the USNA. His leadership skills were further developed when he was selected as the 6th Battalion Commander his senior year. As Battalion Commander he was responsible for over 700 members of the Brigade of Midshipman. Academically O'Donnell was part of the engineering community, studying Naval Architecture. He was selected to Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society and, his senior project, the structural design of a harbor cruise ship, won the award for superior design. In May of 2003 he graduated the USNA with Honors and was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy.
Upon graduation O'Donnell earned one of only 50 positions offered for the Immediate Graduate Education Program. In 2003 he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to study Ocean Engineering. While at Cal Berkeley, Timothy continued to train for Triathlon. He won the 2003 U.S. Under-23 National Championships and also won the Armed Forces Triathlon Championships with a new course record. O'Donnell graduated with a Master of Engineering in 2005.
O'Donnell then received orders to EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Group One in San Diego where he completed the EOD Diver course in Panama City Fla. as class leader and honor graduate. He additionally competed and won another Armed Forces Championship as well as earning a podium finish at his first international competition. A stellar performer in athletics, academics and leadership, the EOD community fully supported his ambition to represent the Navy at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
In January of 2007 O'Donnell was assigned to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. to train and compete for the 2008 Games. Along the way O'Donnell has continued to reign supreme at the Armed Forces Championships with six consecutive victories. He also earned spots on the US National Team and World Championships Team in both 2007 and 2008. In April of 2008 O'Donnell placed 6th at the US Olympic Trials in Tuscaloosa, Ala. While he did not qualify for the 2008 Olympics O'Donnell has benefited greatly from the entire experience.
After the Trials O'Donnell decided to continue the quest for 2012. To pursue this dream he decided to transition from the Navy and focus completely on the sport. Two years removed from the Service, his potential in the non-drafting format has been realized with his success in the Ironman 70.3 races and a World Champion title at the 2009 ITU Long Distance World Championships. With such success O'Donnell is now pursuing long course racing. At his debut Ironman race at 2011 Ironman Texas, he won the title of Ironman US Pro Champion. O'Donnell's success in Ironman racing has continued to develop with an 8th place finish at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2012. In 2013 he claimed the American Record for Ironman with his 8:01:32 victory at Ironman Brazil. O'Donnell now has his sights set on winning the sport's greatest competition, the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.