Leading off the 200 free relay for the Canyons Aquatic Club, high school senior Abbey Weitzeil broke the 17-18 National Age Group record in the 50 free with a blazing 21.49.
That makes her the fastest junior (under-18) performer in history in the event, bettering the 21.59 put up by Simone Manuel just a few weeks ago.
Manuel, a freshman at Stanford, and likely the best sprinter in the NCAA, officially holds the 17-18 NAG record at 21.70, though her 21.59 from the Art Adamson Invite in November would have supplanted that record, barring any complications.
Now, though, Weitzeil’s time will better both of those swims.
The list of accolades to go with Weitzeil’s swim are long, and behind all of it is the backdrop of Weitzeil’s crazy December so far. The 18-year-old flew to Doha, Qatar at the beginning of the month to compete at the Short Course World Championships for Team USA. She wrapped up that meet by taking the Mixed 4×50 medley relay from 3rd to 1st, winning World Championship gold and breaking a world record in the process.
She then flew back the United States, and is almost certainly still dealing with some level of jet-lag, having not been back in the States for even a full week yet. But Weitzeil has been red-hot this week, turning heads with a 45.8 split on the Canyons 400 medley relay and now blowing up the NAG record books with this leadoff leg.
Weitzeil’s swim check in just outside the top 10 performances of all-time, for any age, and she becomes the 5th-fastest performer in history:
All-Time Top Performers: Women’s 50 yard Freestyle
1. Lara Jackson, 21.27
2. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, 21.34
3. Natalie Coughlin, 21.46
4. Liv Jensen, 21.48
5. Abbey Weitzeil, 21.49
Just as exciting is the fact that Weitzeil will tangle with Manuel multiple times in college, as both will swim in the Pac-12 with Cal and Stanford, respectively, perhaps the two favorites for the next several NCAA titles. Pac-12 swim fans can look forward to watching multiple conference- and national-level battles between perhaps the two best young sprinting talents in American history.