How They Train: The Work of Olympic Medalist Emma Weyant (Sample Sets Included)


How They Train: The Work of Olympic Medalist Emma Weyant (Sample Sets Included)

(From the January issue of Swimming World Magazine)

By any measure, Emma Weyant, under the tutelage of her Sarasota Sharks coach Brent Arckey, has had a whale of a run. Leading up to her silver-medal performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the 400-meter individual medley  (4:32.76), the three-time USA Swimming National Team member had also won 400 IM titles at the 2019 U.S. Nationals (4:35.47—third-best all-time for 17-18 girls) and 2018 Junior Pan Pac Championships (4:40.64). In addition, she was a four-time high school All-American and four-time Florida high school 500-yard free and 200 IM champion.

But wait, there’s more.

This college season, as a member of reigning NCAA women’s team champion Virginia, Weyant has continued to post stellar times as the Cavaliers march toward the season-ending competition, March 16-19, in Atlanta.

Her partnership with Arckey began seven years ago when she was a talented breaststroker and distance freestyler. “Emma is shy, driven, goal-oriented and very thorough, hard-working, processed, focused and resilient,” says Arckey.

To get her experience, Arckey took Weyant to the 2017 World Championships Trials. “After she finished her 400 IM, she went back to training and had the opportunity to work with some national teamers—most importantly, Elizabeth Beisel. Elizabeth was great to her, and I felt then Emma started to believe she could be a national teamer herself.

“Later that summer at the U.S. Open, (Emma) was disqualified in the 400 IM. After that, she chose to time trial and went even faster than her DQ time (4:52.24). That was when I knew she had the resiliency to do whatever she wanted in the sport.”

Since then Weyant has continued to show training traits that coaches hold dear. “Emma is thoughtful, meticulous and has no fear,” says Arckey. “She is a fighter, hates to lose and is the best kicker I’ve ever had. While she tends to be quiet, she has grown into an admired team leader.”

Her elevation to the world’s No. 1-ranked 18-and-under 400 IMer and subsequent win at the 2019 Nationals (and sixth in the 800-meter free) “put her into the mindset that she could be a player on the international stage,” says Arckey.


SCY                   2018                      2019                          2020                      2021

200 Free         1:49.78                  1:47.34                        1:47.53                  1:45.28              

500 Free         4:45.11                  4:43.80                        4:40.85                  4:38.39

200 IM            2:02.44                  1:58.07                        1:58.10                  1:58.70

400 IM            4:11.65                  4:07.63                        4:10.00                  4:04.48


LC                      2018                      2019                          2020                      2021

400 Free         4:14.16                  4:09.07                        4:10.33                  4:09.22

800 Free         8:37.35                  8:29.31                        8:36.08                  8:34.93

400 IM            4:40.64                  4:35.47                        4:39.64                  4:32.76


Sample Sets of Emma Weyant: Individual Medley (All Long Course)

Set 1: Weyant focuses on 400 IM race stroke counts, tempos and by 50 time of each 100
• 4x {4-6 x 100
1. Free/fly by 50, descend fly with race stroke counts @ 1:20
2. Back pull, negative split and descend @ 1:30
3. Breast, negative split and descend with race stroke counts @ 1:40
4. Free, descend with a focus on big legs and race tempo @ 1:20

Set 2: Weyant is usually sub-2:10 on fly and back, under 2:30 breast, under 2:00 free
• 4x {3 x 150 kick, descend 1-3 to max effort @ 2:40 + 50 recovery @ 1:00
Rounds: IM order
Goal is to be as far under your best 200-meter swim time as possible

Set 3: Weyant was 4:36 on the final 400 in 2019 a few weeks out of U.S. Nationals
• 4 x 400 “Quarters” @ 7:00
1. 100 as fast as possible, easy 300
2. 200 fly/back as fast as possible, easy 200
3. 300 fly/back/breast as fast as possible, easy 100
4. Free IM RACE (100 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free)

Michael J. Stott is an ASCA Level 5 coach, golf and swimming writer. His critically acclaimed coming-of-age golf novel, “Too Much Loft,” was published in June 2021, and is available from, Amazon, B&N and book distributors worldwide.