OMAHA, NEBRASKA — More than 600 athletes are putting their bodies to the test against some of the best swimmers in the world in Omaha this week, but the most important test comes before anyone hits the water: a COVID-19 screening.
Athletes had to get a negative COVID-19 test result within one week of the trials to be allowed to enter. They were then tested again upon arrival.
“They put us in a gym and everybody is six feet apart and waiting for 45 minutes and just oh man fingers crossed on this one because if you get a negative…nope,” said Olympic hopeful Justin Winnett. On race day there are temperature checks for athletes along with their typical check-in routine at the arena.
For Amanda Nunan who will compete in the 400, 800 and 1500 meter free, the protocols have become as normal as a flip turn. “There’s a lot more protocols in place. They were pretty strict last time but more strict now,” says Nunan, “But we are used to testing with college and NCAA they were strict with testing.”
The road to Tokyo has been uncertain, unprecedented and with covid tests uncomfortable. As the week goes on the top two in each event will have their names displayed on a large roster wall creating a the team heading to Tokyo that many hope is unbeatable.