- July 27, 2021
Sarasota has added another athlete to its Tokyo Olympics roster.
Late Sunday night, Sarasota swimmer Emma Weyant became the fourth representative of Sarasota to make the U.S. squad after winning the Women's 400 IM at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, finishing in 4:33.81, 0.15 seconds faster than Hali Flickinger. It is the fastest Women's 400 IM time in the world in 2021.
Weyant, 19, swims with the Sarasota Sharks and attended Riverview High. It took all of her effort to win the race. Weyant trailed Flickinger and Melanie Margalis, who finished third, heading into the final 100 meters. Somehow, she found the strength to go even faster. Weyant swam the final 100 meters — freestyle — faster than she swam the previous 100 meters.
At a post-race press conference, Weyant said she didn't hear her time announced because of the roar of the crowd. Instead, she turned to her sister, Gracie Weyant, in the crowd, who gave her a look of pride. Emma Weyant knew she had won.
"Tonight, it was whatever it takes," Weyant said during the press conference. "That's been the mantra throughout training on the freestyle. Whatever it takes to get to the wall."
Though the 400 IM is considered Weyant's strongest event, she is also swimming in the 200 IM, the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyles and the 200 backstroke at the Trials, which run through June 20.
While at Riverview, Weyant always had an eye on her national aspirations, competing in events such as the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships in Stanford, California, and winning the 400 IM there (4:35.47). She also won four individual gold medals at the FHSAA state championships as a Ram, two in 2018 and two in 2019.
Weyant joins skateboarder Jake Ilardi, rifle shooter Mary Tucker and rower Clark Dean as Sarasotans headed to Tokyo.