USA Swimming News

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Taylor Abbott Reallocated a Silver Medal for Pan American Games 10K

Taylor Abbott Reallocated a Silver Medal for Pan American Games 10K

It has been 471 days since Taylor Abbott donned a bronze medal in the open water 10K at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru. Now, as of just this week, Abbott proudly holds onto a new medal for his swim a little over a year ago.

Abbott, who donned a bronze medal on the podium during that overcast day in Lima back in 2019, is being reallocated a silver medal due to a doping violation from one of the other medalists. The Pan American Sports Organization has organized a virtual medal ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 19 to honor Abbott as silver medalist. Those wishing to view the ceremony can register here.

“It was a long process,” Abbott said. “I’m so appreciative that (Team USA and the Pan American Sports Organization) worked to finally get me the medal and do the ceremony. It’s all really cool and exciting and I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

For Abbott, a former open water U.S. National Team member who is now officially retired from competitive swimming, this added a special meaning to what would be his last 10K of his career.

“I’m really thankful that I had the opportunity to represent Team USA on so many occasions. That was something I was always really proud of. For six years in a row, I represented Team USA in some fashion. So for things to culminate in me getting on the podium and now getting a silver medal at a senior-level international meet, representing Team USA, is just amazing.”

The silver medal offers him a tangible representation of his finish in Lima, however it is the strategy and preparation for that swim that stands out to him.

Having swum national 10K events for over half of the past decade, the decorated swimmer’s strategy typically remained the same throughout his career: get ahead early and hold off the pack. However, this day in Peru, with swimmers in wet suits due to under 70-degree water temperatures, Abbott and his coach decided to switch up his race strategy.

Over halfway through the race, the former Tennessee Volunteer went in for a feed and intentionally took his time doing so, resting and regaining energy as swimmers went by.

“That was something I had never done before. It was stressful for me to watch those people go by while I was taking my feed and taking a rest.”

For his family and friends back home, who were following online time and place updates since there wasn’t a video livestream, this was alarming to watch Abbott progressively fall from first to seventh.

Eventually Abbott rejoined the pack—climbing back into the leading pack of swimmers with about 300 meters to go. While in the congested leading pack, he called another audible and veered from his typical race strategy.

“About 300 meters to go, I split off and went left of the pack I was with—it was about three or four others. I bet on myself and my own speed to get around that group. Instead of going one-by-one trying to pick them off, I wanted to go around the group as a whole and that is what ended up getting me from seventh to third.”

Abbott would come to touch third, earning his first-career medal at a senior-level international competition.

After COVID-19 shut down his pool and threw a wrench in his training, Abbott retired from competitive swimming and moved out to Los Angeles to begin his career.

Now, working full time for Frito-Lay, Abbott remains grateful for his time swimming and representing Team USA. With all the experiences his swimming career has given him, his new silver medal serves as a representation for his entire career.

“I started with Team USA at World Junior Championships in 2015, I was supposed to go to World University Games, I went to the Pan Pacific Games and then I finished up with the Pan American Games. Now, looking back at it, the silver medal that (the Pan American Sports Organization) overnighted me, that is the proudest achievement of my whole career.”

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