- August 29, 2019
Former Riverview High state champion swimmer and Olympic hopeful Emma Weyant is about to compete in her first major event since March, and she doesn't know what she's happier about: That she gets to swim, or that she gets to swim in Sarasota.
Weyant will compete in the 2020 Toyota U.S. Open, which runs Thursday-Saturday (weather pending) at Selby Aquatic Center. She will be one of approximately 150 swimmers in the event. That includes other local swimmers, such as Michaela Mattes, Addison Sauickie, Liam Custer, and Weyant's sister, Gracie Weyant. It also includes former Olympians such as 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte, who will be swimming in the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 100 and 200 freestyle, plus the 200 individual medley, the event in which he is the current world record holder (1:54.00).
Sarasota is one of nine cities hosting U.S. Open events this week, in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. All nine hubs will have their results combined. The event is considered part of the path to the Olympic Trials: perform well here, and a swimmer is well on the way to achieving their dreams. All of which may cause some swimmers' heads to spin.
Not Weyant, though. She's accustomed to big events, having won the 400 individual medley (4:35.47) at the USA Swimming Nationals at Stanford University in 2019. That time was the fastest in the U.S. when she set it, and she ended 2019 sixth in the world.
Weyant said she feels good heading into the U.S. Open, and that training with the Sarasota Sharks throughout the second half of 2020 has been nice, since others have not had that opportunity. She'll be swimming the 400 individual medley, plus the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle and the 200 individual medley, breaststroke and backstroke. Her plate is full, but she would not want it any other way. Her goals are too close to not give 100% to achieve.
"Every race is a prep for [Olympic] Trials, in a way," Weyant said. "Right now, I'm focusing on executing a race. We're working on different things at practice each time. [This time] I have been working on my off-the-walls, underwater. Just perfecting that at different points in a race."
Fans can attend the U.S. Open, but attendance is limited. Tickets are $60 and they cover all four days of the event. For information, visit sarasotasharks.org.