For the Suncoast’s Olympic swimmer, Sarasota is where it all started

Emma Weyant
Emma Weyant(WWSB)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 9:55 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Palmer Ranch’s 19-year-old Emma Weyant has been the fastest swimmer in the world in her event, the 400-meter individual medley, for more than a year now.

She’s locked up and locked in now in Tokyo, preparing for the Olympics, but ABC7 talked to her mom and her coach in the place where it all started 11 years ago, the Selby Aquatic Center in South Sarasota.

Her mom, Kristi, remembers a lot of early mornings. “Swimming is an early morning sport. Up at four, probably out the door at 4:30 probably three times a week. So it’s a lot. But when they want to do it, it’s worth it.”

Who knew that 8-year-old little girl in the yellow cap would go on to become the Olympic trials winner last month in Omaha? Brent Arckey has coached a lot of good swimmers over the years at the Shark Tank and at the Olympic level. He says Emma is a self-starter who burns. “And I think that’s probably the difference between the really good ones and the great ones is just the drive to be great,” he says.

For Kristi and Coach Arckey, it’s going to be a restless couple of days leading up to Saturday’s races. “I will not be able to sit still and I’ll be up early. Yes,” Kristi says.

“First of all, I’m super proud. I’ll be up. Let’s be honest, I probably won’t sleep,” Brent confesses.

If you’re wondering about when to watch, Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the Suncoast. Emma Weyant swims between 6-7 a.m. on Saturday. And later Saturday night around the dinner hour. Plan ahead, it could be a golden finish.

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