Joey Tepper Is Latest World Championship Swimmer Hit by COVID-19

American open water swimmer Joey Tepper has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the open water 5km race this weekend in Budapest, he told SwimSwam on Saturday.

“I tested positive about a week before I was originally supposed to leave,” Tepper said. He is still testing positive, though, “We appeared to FINA to let a doctor’s note excuse me after I did my isolation and masking period, but unfortunately they are being strict that I need to produce a negative test before I can to.”

Tepper says that his symptoms started on the morning of June 14 and that his first positive test was on the morning of June 16. Current CDC guidelines say that individuals can end isolation after 5 full days from the onset of symptoms or a positive test if they are fever free for 24-hours and their symptoms are improving. The CDC also recommends wearing a mask for an additional 5 days.

“While disappointing, I understand zeitgeist surrounding COVID at these games warrants a cautious response,” Tepper said.

While he is definitely out of the 5km race that is scheduled for Monday, June 27, Tepper says that he will retest next week with hopes of being able to swim the other race that he is entered in: the 25k. That event is on the final day of the open water swimming portion of the championships on Thursday, June 30.

Simon Lamar, who wasn’t originally qualified for the World Championships, will take Tepper’s spot in the 5km race. That will be one of two entries for Lamar, who also picked up a 25km swim after American Michael Brinegar withdrew from the World Championships due to the aftermath of COVID-19.

For Lamar, who just completed his junior season at Harvard, this is a second World Championship appointment. He also raced the 25k at the 2017 World Championships, though he did not finish the race. He also was a bronze medalist in the 5k open water relay at the 2014 Junior World Championships and in the 7.5k at the 2016 Junior World Championships.

There have been several scratches from these World Championships already due to COVID-19 infections. That includes Australian Lani Pallister, New Zealander Erika Fairweather, and the Canadian men’s water polo team.