By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Friday, April 10, 2020
Prior to the recent COVID-19 social distancing and stay-in-place restrictions, USA Swimming athletes were heavily into their preparations for Olympic Trials that were scheduled for this summer.
The ongoing pandemic, of course, changed their plans – preventing them from getting in the pool and training in traditional ways even before the Olympics and Trials were postponed and rescheduled for next year.
With the recent news that the U.S. Olympic Teams Trials are set for June 13-20, 2021, swimmers can begin their Olympic reset as they plan out their new preparations to make the 2020 Olympic Team a year later than they originally planned.
Here are a few thoughts from some of the tops swimmers about what this all means to them moving forward.
“I am doing my best to frame this as a positive. I believe that is the best way to move forward and get the best out of any situation. Now I am taking a step back and just focusing on staying fit as best I can with the resources I have. Open water has always taught us to roll with the punches.”
“I see as it is, I’m thankful for my health and the opportunity to prepare for a meet next year sometime. I plan on working within my group to maximize our collective performance while learning and working on skills to make me a better swimmer – and a better leader.”
“I’m taking this time to mentally reset. We will likely have 15-16 months to train. I need to make sure I’m mentally ready for another Olympic year of training before diving back in.”
“For now, I will do my best to stay in shape despite not having access to a pool. I don't mind having another year to prepare. I've been struggling with my peak performances for a few seasons, so now I have a bit more time to iron out the kinks. The break from swimming will be nice. I just hope it doesn't last too long.”
“I don’t want to reset – I want to just keep getting better from where I am right now. Before this crisis happened, I was in a great spot with my training, so I just want to build on that going forward and keep working towards Tokyo.”
“I think it's unfortunate that I can't compete this year because I've been working so hard in training. I think I would have been incredibly proud of my performance. However, having another solid year to train like how I've been training will only make me stronger going into 2021. I think this year without competition will serve as motivation for next year. I want to be able to make up for what was lost.”
“I do see it as a positive for me as my training has been going great. This is a golden opportunity to reset if you need it. But I also recognize some people are going to lose momentum in the upcoming year, and that’s unfortunate. A team that's selected this year won't be the same as a team selected in 2021. There’s nothing you can do about it, and it's just a sport, so it's best not to let it control your emotions.”
“Since I am on the younger side, I view this reset as a positive and a time to go back to work and get better. I still have so many areas that I can improve upon in the next year, and I think that will only increase my chances of achieving my goals next summer.”
“I think that a lot of athletes will be going straight back into training once we can, but I believe it is important to reset mentally before getting back to hard training. I think it allows for me to make more aggressive changes in my training as there is more time to see how my body reacts. I have never been a person to get too upset over things not in my control, and this is something that definitely fits in this category.”
“Right now, I am taking the time to reset, reflect on my training from this year, reflect on what needs to be changed and sort of take a break from the water. I am treating this time as what would have normally been my summer break, but it is just happening a little bit earlier. Except I hope it is not for much longer because I am itching to get back into training as I was doing really well. I see this as a positive for me because I haven’t had this long of a break in a while. So, this is exciting. I can let my body really recover from some injuries and probably any overtraining that may have happened. It is a nice reset for my body, and I can come back recovered physically and mentally better than ever. Also, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the Olympics were postponed. So, it’s just another year to get stronger, faster and better.”
“I first have to say that I would never want to see the country and the world in a state like this, but this is personally going to give me another few months to rest, recover and move forward and make some changes in training. I would not have had the chance to do so if things continued ‘as planned.’ And I was prepared to continue on the path that I was on, but now am grateful to have a moment to refocus and think about some of the adjustments I want to make moving forward.”
“I was planning to be retired after this summer and start my career in the food industry, so this pandemic has really mixed up my plans. This season of our lives is an important opportunity to realize that many things are out of our control, and it forces us to take one step at a time, grounding ourselves in healthy relationships. My coaches and I are still dependent on what our summer season will look like. Once more is known, we’ll have to plan what time in the next 14 months to take our breaks, when to rest/taper, etc. Another year gives more time to fix details, try new things and enjoy more racing and training.”