By the time Emma Weyant arrives on Grounds this fall, she could already be an Olympic gold medalist. The incoming first year finished first in her heat in the 400-meter Individual Medley (IM), and she will be seeded No. 1 overall in tonight’s final. Her time of 4:33.55 was the fastest of the night, and a new personal best for Weyant.
“I’m really happy with my time,” Weyant told media after the race. “It’s right what I went off of at trials.” Her time from the trials was the fastest swam in the event this year, and she beat that in her first heat in Tokyo.
Weyant, a 19-year-old from Florida, was expected to enroll at Virginia last fall. Instead, she deferred, looking to continue training as the coronavirus pandemic created so much uncertainty. “When she decided to stay back, we fully supported her,” Virginia head coach and Olympic swimming coach Todd DeSorbo. “We wanted her to do what she felt most comfortable and confident with, and what was going to help her accomplish her biggest goals and dreams, which again, was to make the Olympic team.”
She swam a 4:33.81 at the 2020 Olympic Trials back in June in Omaha, winning the event and securing her spot on the US National Team.
“It was a lot of fun to see her accomplish her dreams, because I know she works very, very hard,” DeSorbo said of Weyant after she made the squad back in June. “At the end of the day, as a coach, you just want the best for your your athletes. You want them to perform at a high level, because they’ve earned it. You want them to be successful, because they’ve done the hard work. They’ve earned it.”
Weyant will go for gold Saturday (July 24) evening at 10:12pm ET. The event should be aired on NBC during prime time programming. She will have her hands full with Japan’s Yui Ohashi, and reigning gold medalist and world record holder Katinka Hosszu. Weyant bested Housszu by 2.46 seconds in the qualifying heat, but the Hungarian swimmer has owned the event since Rio 2016.
The Cavaliers won the program and conference’s first NCAA Championship back in March, and Weyant is in Tokyo with fellow Cavaliers Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass, and Paige Madden. Virginia looks to be in good hands next season and beyond.