Abbey Weitzeil Wins Honda Sport Award for Swimming


Cal senior Abbey Weitzeil, who became the first woman in history to swim the 50-yard freestyle in under 21 seconds in December, has earned the prestigious Honda Sport Award for swimming, Chris Voelz, Executive Director of THE Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) announced Tuesday.

Weitzeil is the sixth Golden Bear swimmer to receive the honor, following Mary T. Meagher (1985, 1987), Natalie Coughlin (2002, 2003), Dana Vollmer (2009), Caitlin Leverenz (2012) and Missy Franklin (2015).

“I am so incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Honda Sport Award for swimming this year,” Abbey Weitzeil said. “It is so special to have my name next to the other Cal swimmers that have won in the past. They are a major part of Cal’s history and legacy, and to be able to add my name to that list and represent Cal this year is amazing. This would not have been possible without my coaches, teammates, staff and support system that all helped me through this last year, and so I send a huge thank you to all of them, as well. Go Bears!”

The highlight of Abbey Weitzeil’s shortened senior season came in early December when she lowered her American record in the 50 free to 20.90 seconds at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis. She has held the American record in the event since March 4, 2016, when she went 21.12 before her enrollment at Cal. She reset the record on her way to the 2019 NCAA title with a time of 21.02. Overall, Weitzeil owns the top two times and five of the top six times ever in the 50 free.

Later in the 2019-20 season, Weitzeil broke the Pac-12 meet record in the 50 free when she won the race in 21.03 seconds. She also lowered the Cal dual-meet and Spieker Aquatics Complex records in the 50 free (21.73) and 100 free (47.79), as well as the Stanford pool record in the 50 free (21.89) over the course of the year. Weitzeil earned Pac-12 Swimmer of the Month in December and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week recognition twice for her performances.

“The Honda Award is the premier honor available for female collegiate student-athletes, and I’m thrilled for Abbey that she is this year’s recipient for swimming,” Cal head coach Teri McKeever said. “She had an outstanding season and seemed to set a record almost every time she raced, highlighted by her American record in the 50 free this past December. As one of our co-captains, Abbey was also a terrific leader in and out of the pool, and I expect we’ll see even more from her in the years ahead.”

Weitzeil was also a finalist for the Honda Sport Award last year when she was voted the 2019 Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year. In addition, she was tabbed last month as a finalist for the AAU Sullivan Award given to the top amateur athlete in the country.

Abbey Weitzeil was chosen by a vote of administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Other finalists included Erika Brown (Tennessee), Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) and Beata Nelson (Wisconsin).

The CWSA, in its 44th year, honors the nation’s top NCAA women athletes recognizing superior athletic skills, leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.  Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $3.4 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award-winners and nominees to support women’s athletics programs at the institutions. 

— The above press release was posted by Swimming World in conjunction with Cal Swimming. For press releases and advertising inquiries please contact

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