Izzy Ivey Building on First Full Season at Cal

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Izzy Ivey couldn’t wait to join her Cal teammates — and they couldn’t wait to have her.

So they didn’t wait.

Ivey graduated early from high school and joined the Golden Bears at the semester break last year. She earned multiple All-American honors and was part of the national title — and NCAA record 400 free relay.

“It was life-changing. It was eye-opening in every aspect,” Izzy Ivey told Swimming World. “I wanted to come early. Going from online senior year to the No. 1 university was a big change. Now that I have a semester under my belt, that is helpful. I was in a position where I could graduate high school early, and Kathleen Baker went pro. So there was a spot. I did my whole senior year online in two months then joined the team in Hawaii. It was a nice way to enter the team and bond with everyone.”


Especially a special group of seniors that she would only share a couple of months with.

“I always dreamed on being on a team with that group of seniors. I watched Katie McLaughlin and Amy Bilquist growing up,” she said. “Getting to train with them is something I would never trade.”


Ivey (left) alongside Katie McLaughlin, Amy Bilquist and Abbey Weitzeil. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ivey followed McLaughlin’s trend of earning All-American honors in a double two years in a row. Ivey earned All-American honors in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke on the same night.

“Having Katie helped a lot. Katie and I did the 200 free 100 fly double at Pac-12s. Her pushing me every day in practice was very helpful,” Ivey said. “A lot of our practices are pretty intense. It is a lot of back-to-back racing. Katie loves that. She is a powerhouse in that aspect. Having her to look up to and push me was so awesome. It was amazing to have two races in finals. I had her in one final and Amy in the other. We really just fed off each other’s energy.

“I surprised myself at NCAAs. We decided to enter the 100 back just to see what would happen and I went a lifetime best by 2 seconds in prelims. I really surprised myself. The team is really supportive and them saying I could do it helped me think I could.”

Now, Ivey is shining in her first full season at Cal.

“Before I came, I had never done any weight training. Now I am doing some heavy weight training. My starts have never felt better,” she said.

That was on display at the Minnesota Invitational. She swam to the fourth-fastest time in the country in the 100 backstroke (51.08), fifth-fastest in the 200 IM (1:54.68) and seventh-fastest in the 100 fly (51.46).

“I would say it went pretty well. I wasn’t expecting to go the times that I did. We weren’t rested and I wore an old suit. It was pretty exciting. It was a check in for the rest of the season,” she said. “My underwaters were a pretty big part in my success at NCAAs last year, I think realizing that I wasn’t going all the way to 15 like I was in the past was eye-opening.”

Ivey knows what she is capable, but is hoping for some more eye-opening performances.

“For me, knowing that I can be someone who could make A finals is something that I can hold on to,” she said.

And now, though technically the age of a freshman, she is one of the more experienced NCAA swimmers on the team.

“I am kind of the goof ball on deck. I am trying to make sure I am being supportive,” she said. “It is all about being one. It is a sacrifice and an opportunity. I am hoping to A final my events. If I do the double again, I would love to get top three in both,” Izzy Ivey said. “I have watched it for so many years. We all know the big names, but knowing that there are so many young people doing great things. It is watching the roles reverse. Older swimmers that I looked up to are now people I am training with. It is motivating for everyone.”

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Skip White
3 years ago

What an inspiration you are for the young people in Gainsvilles swim teams…i know your Mom and she beams with pride at what you are accomplishing…Go Bears…but stay a Gator!!!lol