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F-Teamers Get Racing Again in the US

18 November 2020

Jonathan Rutter
Jonathan Rutter sailed his way back into the US Open last weekend

With Covid cases in the US rising daily by astronomical proportions in every state across the country, swim meets have largely been put on the back burner for most of this year. US based F-Teamers, Norbert Szabo, Jonathan Rutter and Marina Spadoni have waited patiently for their chance to pull on their APEX Predator racing suits and the time finally arrived with the start of the 2020 U.S. Open Swimming Championships. It isn't your average US Open with the event split across numerous pools around the country. We asked Jonathan to check in after his meet to give us an idea of what it was like to race under this new format.

Norbert and Marina
Norbert Szabo and Marina Spadoni waited patiently to get back into the pool, and it paid off.

If I had to sum up this year's US Open in one word, it would be "quiet". With COVID threatening to cancel the competition altogether, only 100 swimmers were entered in each of 9 sites across the country. There were no preliminary sessions, no awards, and no spectators. At my site - Greensboro, North Carolina - men and women competed in different sessions, in order to further reduce the number of people in the building at one time.

To some extent, I was prepared for all of this. We've held a few similarly quiet time trials during training over the past few months, and of course at this point there's nothing new about temperature checks and social distancing. Face masks feel like a natural extension of my face now, though they continue to present challenges: Thirty seconds before my first race, I had a moment of panic as my mask got caught underneath the two caps I was wearing. Thirty seconds after the same race, under the watchful eye of the meet officials, I pulled out my mask only to find that I was breathing too heavily to put it on as required.

But at the end of the day, the greatest anomaly of this competition was that it happened at all. After nine months of in-person events getting replaced by half-hearted Zoom calls, not even an underwhelming atmosphere could take away from the thrill of racing again. So however I feel about my own performance (honestly I'm still trying to make up my mind), I'm walking away from this meet excited, optimistic, and grateful for the opportunity to compete. Thanks to USA Swimming for making this event possible, and best of luck to everyone else who is able to race at the moment!

Jonathan Rutter (Greensboro)

  • 200 IM: 2:02.67 (8th overall)
  • 200 Freestyle: 1:50.85 (17th overall)
  • 200 Breaststroke: 2:15.29 (9th overall)

Norbert Szabo (Sarasota)

  • 200 IM: 2:02.86 (9th overall)
  • 200 Freestyle: 1:51.11 (19th overall)
  • 100 Freestyle: 51.07 (42nd overall)

Marina Spadoni (Sarasota)

  • 50 Freestyle: 25.96 (15th overall)
  • 100 Freestyle: 56.66 (24th overall)

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