As much as Sam Pomajevich wants a chance to compete in the Olympics, he preferred delaying that opportunity instead of preparing for it this summer.

He received his wish Tuesday when Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games, which were scheduled to start July 24. The plan is to reschedule the Games by the summer of 2021.

Like many athletes training for a shot at the Summer Olympics in Japan, the Stonewall Jackson High School graduate has seen his regimented schedule disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Pomajevich, a junior at the University of Texas, is in Austin staying with his girlfriend and her parents. But he’s been unable to swim for over a week as pools have been restricted or closed for safety purposes. Those closed pools, include the one at the University of Texas.

“It allows me a sufficient block of training in the next year,” Pomajevich said. “As of now, it is too hard to get to pools and with the uncertainty of them being open it is very hard to have sufficient training. So the postponement removes a lot of the pressure considering the difficulty of training right now.”

Facing pressure from other countries, Olympic officials indicated Sunday they were considering postponing the Summer Games.

Knowing the break will affect the performance of their athletes and expressing concern for the overall health of their athletes, both USA Swimming and USA Track and Field asked for a one-year postponement. On Sunday, Canada became the first country to say it would not send its athletes to the Summer Olympics.

To qualify for the Olympics, Pomajevich first had to perform well at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials scheduled for June 21-28. Pomajevich qualified for the trials in two events, the 100 and 200 butterfly. The top two finishers in each of those events makes the U.S. Olympic Team.

In a release Tuesday, USA Swimming said it is working with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to reschedule the Olympic trials. 

Pomajevich has a legitimate shot at the top 2 in the 200 fly, his signature event.

He won a silver medal last summer in the 200 fly at the Pan American Games. In December, he swam a time of 1:39.35 in the 200 fly, which is the ninth fastest in the event’s history. As the third seed, Pomajevich was also in contention to win the 200 fly at the NCAA’s before they were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pomajevich was disappointed neither he nor his team, which was a favorite to capture the championship, got the chance to compete in the NCAA’s. But he understood the reason behind the cancellation.

“The way I looked at it was swimming was not as important,” Pomajevich said. “They had to do what needed to be done.”

Pomajevich said this has been a “bounce back year for me.”

After a strong freshman season, he felt like he had a down sophomore season.

“Things were getting a little more intense and I had a little issue with stress and anxiety,” Pomajevich said. “It was a tough year, but I worked through the summer to get through it. I started off well with this college season and it’s been good since then.”

David Fawcett is the sports editor for InsideNoVa.com. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com

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