National Champion Amy Bilquist Signs With arena, Along With Ress, Stewart, Herzog

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Amy Bilquist signed with arena. Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

After claiming her first national championship this summer, Amy Bilquist has signed with arena.

arena North American announced the signing of Bilquist, along with Justin Ress, Kendyl Stewart and Sophia Herzog.

The former Cal All-American claimed the 100-meter backstroke title at the 2019 Phillips 66 National Championships in August.

“I am so thankful that arena has helped make my childhood dream of becoming a professional swimmer a reality,” Bilquist told Swimming World. “Being an arena athlete is such a blessing. I am beyond humbled to stand amongst great athletes whom are also great people. The arena family has welcomed me and made me feel so excited to continue my swimming career in the best suits and gear on the market.”

After winning five relay national titles at Cal, and coming close to winning several times as an individual, Bilquist stood alone with a thrilling and unexpected gold medal around her neck a the 2019 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships in August after training this summer in Scottsdale, Ariz.

It was thrilling because it was her first individual title. It was unexpected because she had broken her hand just six weeks before nationals.

“This means everything to me,” is how she summed up the victory.

This fall, Bilquist will compete in the International Swimming League as a member of the LA Current.

“So many Cal people and others I am close with at the sport,” she said. “Traveling the world with each other and swimming for each other. I couldn’t be more excited.”

It is an opportunity like ISL that really has Bilquist feeling like a professional swimmer. She is training that way and trying to use her platform to give back to the sport.

“Swimming and lifting. Trying to get strong right now. I want to build a lot of muscle,” she said.

Bilquist is trying to continue to strengthen her body, and wants everyone to be comfortable in their own body, something she has spoken out about before. It has been a struggle for her at times, and she wants to help others with their struggles.

“For me it is more hoping to make the young girls feel more comfortable in their own bodies. Our bodies do so many amazing things,” Amy Bilquist said. “But as athletes, we don’t look like that model over there or whatever. I want to put out more images that embrace our own beauty in our own way. If you are more confident, you are going to achieve more things. I lacked that for a very long time. I want people to learn that lesson earlier than I did.”

Justin Ress

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Ress is a former All-American at NC State, where he was a part of four ACC title teams. He also swam on three NCAA winning relays during his time with the Wolfpack, winning the 800 free relay in 2017 and in 2018, and the 400 free relay in 2018 which set the current American record. He recently won a bronze medal in the 100 back at the 2019 World University Games and also led off the United States’ gold medal winning 4×100 medley relay.

Kendyl Stewart

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

Stewart was the gold medalist this year in the 100 butterfly at the 2019 Pan American Games and also won golds on the Americans’ 4×100 free and 4×100 medley relays. Stewart represented the United States at the 2015 World Championships and the 2014 Pan Pacs.

Sophia Herzog

Herzog is a one-time Paralympian, having swum for the United States at the 2016 Games in Rio. There, she won the silver in the 100 breaststroke and was sixth in the 200 IM. She won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 2017 World Championships. Herzog is a native of Colorado

2 comments

  1. Mary Jo Pursley

    I remember seeing her swim as a freshman in High School and asking Matt if she was the “real deal” — and he was like YUP pretty sure she is !!!!

  2. Pam Esser

    Congratulations to Amy!