KNOXVILLE, Tn (WATE)- Lady Vol standout swimmer Erika Brown was gearing up for the Swimming Olympic Trials when the 2020 Olympic Games were put on hold.
This being the second major cancellation impacting Brown’s career. Earlier in March, the NCAA made the decision to cancel the remaining winter and spring championships right as Brown and the rest of her teammates were preparing for the NCAA swimming championship.
Brown was swimming better than ever. The Lady Vols swimming and diving team has just won their first SEC title in program history, finishing the championship with 1,108 total points. Brown was perfect on the week winning the 50 and 100 free (45.83), and 100 fly (49.38).
In that perfect feat Brown set the American record in the 100 fly, and her time of sub 50 made her the third-fastest performer in event history. With her time in the 100 free, she broke her own school and SEC record.
However, that momentum has been halted.
This postponement of this year’s games marks the first time the Olympic Games have been postponed. The last time the games were majorly impacted was due to WWI and WWII.
While the decision is disheartening for all athletes looking to compete on the World’s biggest stage, Brown says the call was necessary.
“Anything that gets postponed that you worked for, especially for four years, it’s disappointing,” Brown says, “But the current situation that we’re in now, it was definitely the right decision. The health and safety of this country is the most important thing right now.”
Before the games were officially postponed, Brown was training at a local pool with four of her former teammates. However that quickly ended once gyms and other facilities, including the one she was training at, were forced to temporarily close amid coronavirus concerns.
Even though though Brown continues to face speed bumps on the road to the Olympics, she chooses to view this challenging time as a benefit instead of a setback.
“I think it’s easy to see it as a setback, but I’m trying to choose to see it as a benefit.”
Having to find new ways to train outside of the water.
“I’m learning new ways to train,” Brown says, “I’m working on things like my flexibility, endurance and cardio. Things that I don’t normally do everyday.”
The games are now set to take place in Tokyo from July 23rd-August 8th in 2021, according to the IOC.
For the upcoming year, Brown will continue to train and work towards her Olympic aspirations by joining the Tennessee aquatics pro team here in East Tennessee. She will join ten of her teammates on the pro team, and will still be coached by Matt Kredich and Ashley Jahn.
“Three to four doubles a week and then in addition to those,” Brown says, “We’ll have lifts on the days we don’t swim twice, so three to four lifts, and then we’ll get Sundays off.”
Working hard to prepare for her dream.