Isabel Ivey Powers Cal ‘On a Mission’ into Pac-12 Championships

cal-ivey-January 29, 2021; , Berkeley, California, USA; WS: California Golden Bears vs USC Trojans ; ; Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne - KLC Fotos Isabel Ivey,Free/Fly/Back
Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne - KLC Fotos

Isabel Ivey was devastated that the 2020 NCAA swimming championships were canceled.

The Cal swimmer decided to escape and take a long weekend break at home before returning to refocus.

It seemed like a brilliant plan except the COVID-19 pandemic was just getting started. Ivey’s long weekend turned into five months.

“I went home the day after NCAAs were canceled because I was emotionally not OK. I was only supposed to be home for three days because we were planning on going to the OTC to train when trials were still on. So I only packed for three days but ended up being home until August,” Isabel Ivey told Swimming World.

Ivey returned to her home in Gainesville, Florida.


Isabel Ivey. Photo Courtesy: Kelley L Cox

“Things shut down a few weeks later and I was in my backyard pool. I hooked up some cords to a fence that I was swimming with,” she said. “I did a lot of ocean swims and lake swims. I had the most fun doing the beach swims. Things opened up and I was able to get back in the pool. I took a couple of classes and I think that helped me for the online semester. I came back as soon as I could.”

Through all of the upheaval that the pandemic caused, Ivey returned to Cal and has put together a stellar junior season. She won three events in the final dual meet of the season to lead the Golden Bears past rival Stanford for the first time in six years. She was named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Week.

“We were on a mission when we got on the bus to go across the bay. We were so excited,” Ivey said. “There was never a quiet moment on our side of the deck. We relied on each other. We had to remind each other what we were there to do.”
Ivey’s speed is nothing new for Cal — neither is her versatility. She has been an All-American in multiple events, including pulling off a double on the same night in 2019.

Now an upperclassman, Ivey is being looked upon as a leader, following in the footsteps of the great leaders that went before her.

January 29, 2021; , Berkeley, California, USA; WS: California Golden Bears vs USC Trojans ; ; Photo credit: Catharyn Hayne - KLC Fotos Isabel Ivey,Free/Fly/Back

Isabel Ivey. Photo Courtesy: Catharyn Hayne – KLC Fotos

“We had such great leaders before with big shoes to fill. We have the experience going to NCAAs and we hold each other accountable really well,” Ivey said.

That leads the Golden Bears into the Pac-12 Championships.

“I feel like we have a really good chance to win Pac-12s this year,” Ivey said.

Ivey, like many swimmers this season, are ahead of their best dual meet times from last year — interesting considering the abbreviated seasons and training because of the pandemic.

Ivey said she knows the reason.

“Every meet that has happened, individual swims are getting faster,” Isabel Ivey said. “People are swimming with more passion and gratitude. That is what our mindset is. I would love to go a best time, but I am just so thankful to have an opportunity to race and be on deck with my team.”

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Sullivan (Izzy's stepdad)
1 year ago

Thank you, Dan, for this inspirational story. She’s a wonderful young lady.
I hate to ask, but could the 2 typos in the final paragraph please be corrected? Thank you!

Matt Sullivan
1 year ago

Thanks so much for the fixed typos.