ZUMO Performance of the Week: Weitzeil Dominates 50 Free With New American, NCAA Record

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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This week’s ZUMO Performance of the Week goes to Abbey Weitzeil for her American record performance in the 50 freestyle at the 2019 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships.  

Weitzeil was on fire heading into NCAA’s, breaking Simone Manuel’s Pac-12 meet record in the 50 free (21.16) that was also a new Cal school record and played a key role in Cal sweeping all five relays at the Pac-12 Championships (including a surprise American record in the 400 free relay on the final day of the meet).

What remained elusive, however, was the 21.12 American record that she set in 2016 during her redshirt year prior to the Olympic Games. That is, until Weitzeil hit the water for the first night of finals at NCAA’s.

Swimming out of lane 4 in same pool she set her 2016 record, Weitzeil crushed her American record with a time of 21.02, nearly becoming the first woman to swim a flat start 50 under 21-seconds. This was Weitzeil’s first individual NCAA title in her career and a remarkable swim that has been three years in the making for the Cal Bear. That gives Weitzeil 4 of the top 10 performances of all-time in the 50 yard freestyle and was a highlight of what was an incredible meet for the junior.

But if you thought breaking the record would have Weitzeil sitting on her laurels, think again. In her post-race interview with teammate Amy Bilquist, she revealed her goal all season was to hit 20.99.

“I knew I could do it. At the end of this year I knew I was going twenty-point. And I didn’t. I’m really disappointed. When I first saw my time I was like ‘dang it.’ But it took me a second to realize I actually broke my American Record and I was like ‘Oh, thats pretty cool!’ You know you’re so close and I’m like well what could I have done to go .03 faster. It’s something to strive for though. It’s definitely a little bummer but I can’t be disappointed.”

Weitzeil would leave the meet as part of two record setting relays (200 free, 400 free), including tying the fastest ever 50 free split in history (20.45) on Cal’s second place 200 medley relay. She also pushed through an elbow injury that left her unable to climb out of the pool on the final day, delivering a 4th place finish in the 100 free and anchoring the 400 free relay to a new American and NCAA record.

Congratulations to Abbey Weitzeil on earning ZUMO’s Performance of the Week!

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