Ayla Spitz Heading to Northwestern to Use COVID-19 Fifth Year

Ayla Spitz has announced on Instagram that she will be transferring to Northwestern to use her COVID-19 fifth year of eligibility.

Spitz spent her first four years at Cal. As a senior, Spitz was fifth in the 200 and 500 freestyles at the Pac-12 Championships. She also won the B final of the 200 back.

She went on to swim at NCAAs finishing 20th in the 500 free, 23rd in the 200 free, and 33rd in the 200 back. She also swam on Cal’s 400 and 800 free relays. Notably, their 800 free relay was fourth. Spitz split a 1:43.84, the fastest split of Cal. Northwestern did not have an 800 free relay at NCAAs this season.

Spitz had a huge NCAAs her sophomore year (2021). There she finished fifth in the 500 free (4:39.70) and 11th in the 200 free (1:45.17).

Spitz’s best times are:

  • 200 free: 1:44.10
  • 500 free: 4:38.05
  • 100 back: 52.85
  • 200 back: 1:53.21

Just last week, Spitz was one of the top women we found left to still be in the portal that had not announced their destination.

Spitz is a huge boost to the Northwestern roster. The Northwestern women were sixth this past season at Big Tens. Her best times in the 200 free, 500 free, and 200 back would have been third at Big Tens this past season. Her personal best in the 100 back would have been seventh.

The Wildcats had one swimmer in each of the four of those event ‘A’ finals. Ashley Strouse was in the 200 free A final, Justine Murdock was in the 200 back A final, and Miriam Guevara was in the A final of the 100 back. Strouse and Murdock are entering their junior season but Guevara just finished up her fifth year.

Spitz is the first swimmer to announce she will be swimming a fifth year at Northwestern. Cal and Northwestern did a small “trade” of fifth years as breaststroke Hannah Brunzell announced last month she will take her fifth year at Cal.

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Old Swim Coach
11 months ago

I really like the use of the 5th year to springboard into a school with fantastic graduate programs. Well done!

Reply to  Old Swim Coach
11 months ago

Yeah, just thinking about the difference between a 17 year old making the college decision and a 22 year old…I think that’s what we’re seeing the result of.

Stanley Clark
11 months ago

At Sette Coli, newest member of the Israeli National Team

Reply to  Stanley Clark
11 months ago

Which club team dues she swim for in Israel?

11 months ago

Go Cats! Assuming she’s getting some money, what a great school at which to take advantage of the 5th year.

11 months ago

Go Bears! Go Cats! Thank you for your contributions the last four years, we will be cheering you on from Berkeley!!!

Mike the Tiger
11 months ago

Who is going to coach her though?

11 months ago

Looks like psych sheets are out. Dressel entered in all 4 sprint events.

11 months ago

Manuel the biggest name missing

11 months ago


About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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