Four-time NCAA qualifier and Arizona swimmer Aria Bernal has entered the NCAA transfer portal. After completing her first four seasons with the wildcats, she has one more year of eligibility left, the COVID-19 fifth year. Because Bernal has only entered the transfer portal, she is allowed to communicate with other schools and their coaches. However, this does not mean that she is required to transfer from Arizona.
Bernal has made huge improvements in her time at Arizona. In her freshman year, she finished 24th in the 100 back at 2019 NCAAs (52.24). She was then seeded 15th (52.00) in the event coming into 2020 NCAAs, although she never got to compete because the meet was canceled due to COVID-19. A year later, at 2021 NCAAs, she finished 27th in the same race (52.98). However, this season, she dropped significant time and wound up finishing 12th in the 100 back at NCAAs (51.24) to make her first-ever NCAA final. In addition, she also swam best times in the 200 back (1:54.33) and the 200 IM (1:59.63) this year.
Aria Bernal‘s 100 Back Best Time Progression:
|2018 Speedo Champions Series (High School)||52.54|
|Arizona vs. Arizona State (Freshman Year)||52.40|
|2019 NCAAs (Freshman Year)||52.03|
|2020 Pac-12s (Sophomore Year)||52.00|
|2021 Minnesota Invitational (Senior Year)||51.59|
|2022 NCAAs (Senior Year)||51.24|
At Pac-12s this year, Bernal was 4th in the 100 back, 7th in the 200 back, and 20th in the 200 IM. She scored 55 points for Arizona to contribute to the their fifth-place finish, the third most on her team behind diver Delaney Schnell and rising junior Julia Heimstead.
If Bernal ends up transferring, the Arizona women will lose one of their three NCAA swimming qualifiers from this year (Heimstead and rising senior Jade Neser) and their only point scorer on the swimming side. At NCAAs this year, the Wildcats finished in 19th with 53 points. Four of those points were scored by Bernal, and 46 were scored by Schnell, who finished second, fifth, and seventh in the 10-meter, one-meter, and three-meter diving events respectively.