A week after entering the transfer portal, Tokyo silver medalist Emma Weyant has announced via Instagram that she will be competing for the University of Florida. She spent her freshman season at the University of Virginia and has three remaining years of eligibility left.
Weyant’s transfer comes after the May 1 transfer deadline, so it is unknown whether she will be able to compete in the 2022-23 NCAA season. When SwimSwam reached out to her after she entered the transfer portal, she said she was looking to compete this fall.
First, I would like to thank everyone at @stokedmg, @arenausa, and @swimoutletusa for always supporting me and my dreams no matter what. Thank you to @sarasotasharks for always being a home. And thank you to my family for absolutely everything.
Thank you to my @uvaswimdive family. I am forever grateful for all of you.
I am so excited for the next chapter at the University of Florida with @gatorswimdive. Time to go home🧡
In her season with UVA, Weyant finished second in the 500 free, third in the 400 IM, and 20th in the 1650 free, setting huge personal bests in the former two events. She scored a total of 32 individual points, the sixth-most on her team. Although Weyant is known to be a stronger long course swimmer, considering that she has 2020 Olympic silver and 2022 World Championship bronze in the 400 IM, she saw major improvements in her yards events last season.
Emma Weyant Best Time Progression, High School vs. Freshman Year:
|500 Free||1650 Free||400 IM|
|Freshman Year of College||4:34.99||16:02.51||4:03.17|
At UVA, Weyant was one of the strongest mid-distance swimmers, but just one out of the many stars on a team that dominated NCAAs last year to take the national title. That’s going to be different in Gainesville, where she has the potential to single-handedly boost up her team, at least for the 2022-23 season.
Weyant’s best time in the 500 free would have won at the 2022 SEC Championships, while her 400 IM time would have placed second and her 1650 free time would have placed fourth. Had she swam at SECs last year, she would have scored 86 individual points, which is more than what anyone at UF scored at the meet (Florida’s top scorer, Tylor Mathieu, racked up 69 individual points). In addition, her 32 points at NCAAs was also more than any Gator, as Maha Amer led Florida with 17 points at that meet.
For a variety of reasons, Weyant’s decision to come to Florida makes sense. She grew up in the state and swam with the Sarasota Sharks club for the majority of her life, even deferring her freshman year at Virginia to train at home in the leadup to the Olympics.
Florida is also becoming one of the fastest-rising women’s programs in the country, especially for mid-distance/distance freestyle and IM. In the 2021-2022 season, their first year with Anthony Nesty as head coach, they outscored their seed times at NCAAs by 82 points to finish 13th overall. They already have 500/1650 free all-American Tylor Mathieu, and a wave of top talents such as Bella Sims, JoJo Ramey, and Michaela Mattes will be joining them in fall 2023. The addition of Weyant will only further bolster Florida’s case to become a top five team in the future.
Aside from the UF women’s team, there are also plenty of world-class swimmers who train under Nesty and specialize in Weyant’s events, such as recent transfer Jake Mitchell, Kieran Smith, Bobby Finke, Trey Freeman, and Katie Ledecky.
Mitchell and Weyant are a romantic couple, with Mitchell commenting on her transfer post “love and middle distance at Florida conquers all.” That comment is a reference to a running joke surrounding whether Mitchell would join Weyant at Virginia when he was seeking a transfer, and the quip that love conquers all, but Florida middle distance conquers love.