By USA Swimming | Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Season 3 of “Off the Blocks” will premier tomorrow, April 15, at noon Mountain Time.
This season was supposed to follow some of USA Swimming’s top athletes as they prepared for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. But as Cody Miller said in the teaser released on Instagram – this didn’t go as planned! https://www.instagram.com/p/B-zfq0QnpND/
USA Swimming’s Editorial Director and “Off the Block’s” executive producer Jim Rusnak talks a little bit about what happened, and what you can expect from Season 3.
What was the original direction of this season’s “Off the Blocks?”
Originally, we were going to have four or five episodes focusing on some of the National Team swimmers as they prepared for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. The Olympic Trials is the biggest, most pressure-packed and exciting event we hold in this country every four years. We wanted to build a series around that drama and excitement, and we had a solid line-up of swimmers ready to tell their stories heading into Trials – Nathan Adrian and Ryan Murphy, Ryan Lochte, Regan Smith and Olivia Smoliga. The legendary Rowdy Gaines was going to help us out with some historical perspectives, and we were also going to film on-site at Trials in Omaha.
And then the Coronavirus happened?
Yes. We filmed part of the first episode with Nathan Adrian and Ryan Murphy in Berkeley, California about two weeks before the Pandemic hit, and the week we were supposed to head to Florida to capture Lochte and Rowdy on video – that’s when everything across the country shut down.
So what did you do to adjust, and what’s the plan now?
There was a lot of wait and see. A lot of things were up in the air, including the postponement of the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games. Once some of the initial uncertainty settled, we thought people might like some interesting, uplifting content while they’re holed up in quarantine. We had the footage, so why not? We did an interview with Lochte over Zoom, and Cody Miller did his thing at home.
Our partners at Boombox Productions did their magic, and we will have two episodes – the first released tomorrow (April 15) and April 29. Watch for the teasers in between on Instagram.
Tell us a little bit about the first episode.
It features Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, Ryan Lochte and Cody Miller. They talk about their first experience at Trials, what they did in their free time before Coronavirus to offset the pressures of training, and how they are now shifting their focus to Trials next year.