As the 2020 Olympics beckon and triathletes around the world vie for a chance to compete in Tokyo, Summer Rappaport sits in an enviable position: The San Diego-based 28-year-old finished as the first American at the Olympic test event in Tokyo last August, locking in an automatic spot on Team USA. A relative newcomer on the draft-legal triathlon scene—she took up the sport in 2014 after a successful stint as a swimmer and runner at Villanova University–Rappaport’s impressive trajectory has included a handful of World Cup wins, a great victory at WTS Edmonton in 2016, and a run of World Triathlon Series podiums in 2019 in Yokohama (2nd), Hamburg (3rd), and Edmonton (2nd).
Still wrapping her head around her Olympic berth (“I was in shock,” she recalls, “but it has started to sink in.”), Rappaport says the best is yet to come. “The learning curve is steep in this sport, and I’ve had to be patient in my approach,” she says. “By adapting and growing, I’ve been able to gradually improve. It’s been a cumulative build, and it’s still building.”
Summer Rappaport’s Go-To Swim Workout
15 x 100m hard on a 1:30 interval
“I try to stick to a pace that is hard but sustainable– and hopefully, I’ll be able to pick it up toward the end. The faster effort plus the benefit of doing the distance we swim in a race is a great prep for competition and really builds endurance and speed.”
Eat Like A Pro
Practical but powerful—that’s the secret to 2020 Olympian Summer Rappaport’s nutrition for training and racing.
I eat everything–and I’m not afraid to treat myself as long as it’s in moderation! I just make sure I get a good mix of carbs, proteins, veggies, and fruits in every meal.
I spend most of the year traveling for racing and training, and my meals differ depending on where I am in the world. It’s challenging at times, but I like to adapt aspects of the local cuisine in my diet. When I’m in Portugal, I live on ham and cheese toast and coffee at a café.
No matter where I am, the best way to get in a healthy meal is by making bowls. I start with a base of rice—it’s available anywhere—or grains like quinoa. Then, I’ll throw in a protein, and mix it up with a sauce, depending on what I’m craving. I’ll do salsa, or soy sauce with sriracha and curry.
Three hours before every race, I eat plain white rice and canned tuna. It’s a little depressing, but also protein-packed and keeps me fueled. And I can usually find tuna and rice anywhere in the world.
A Day in the Food Life
- 7:00 a.m.
- Coffee and cereal with milk
- 9:30 a.m.
- Three eggs scrambled and a bagel with peanut butter
- 1:00 p.m.
- Pasta salad with easy to digest protein, usually tuna or chicken
- 4:00 p.m.
- Afternoon snack, a protein bar or something heavier if the training day is done
- 7:00 p.m.
- Bowl with grains, protein, and veggies for dinner