Chris O'Neil was born in Oxnard, California, and moved to Huntsville, Alabama, at age 2. He began his swimming career with the Huntsville Swim Association, and credits much of his success to Fran Norris, his longtime coach with the HSA. In 1982, while swimming for Huntsville High School, he finished second in the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Swimming Meet in the 100 Meter Butterfly, and a few weeks later, he won the Gold Medal in the same event in the Junior National Championships. Chris feels that winning that particular event led to his signing a scholarship in swimming with Texas A&M, where he earned worldwide recognition. He was named to the All-Southwestern Conference Team for four straight years and was selected as an All American the same four years. He is the first person from Texas A&M to be a four-time All American. During this time period, he was a member of the U.S. National Swim Team on three different occasions and won five Gold Medals. The first of his Gold Medals came in the European National Championships in Bonn, Germany, when he won the 50 Meter Butterfly in March of 1985. He followed this up in August of 1985, by winning the Gold Medal in the 400 Meter Medley Relay at the World University Games in Kobe, Japan. Chris went on to win the Gold Medal in the 100 Meter Butterfly at the Goodwill Games in Moscow, Russia, in July of 1986. In August, he won the Gold Medal and his first National Swimming Championship in the 100 Meter Butterfly at the United States Swimming National Championships in Santa Clara, California. At the meet in Santa Clara, during the preliminaries, he broke Mark Spitz's pool record that had stood for fourteen years. He broke his own record only hours later when he won the National Championship. In 1987, he won his second National Championship and the last of his Gold Medals by winning the 100 Meter Butterfly at the United States Swimming National Championships in Boca Raton, Florida. Chris was inducted into the Texas A&M Hall of Fame in 1999. "I enjoyed coaching Chris very much," said Fran Norris, his coach with HSA. "He worked very hard, set goals and went forward to achieve those goals." Chris and his wife, Laura, have 3 sons, Christopher, Kenneth and Stephen.