Abbey Weitzeil is an American sprinter and 2x Olympian. Weitzeil is the faster woman in history in the 50yd freestyle and was the first to break the 21-second barrier. She has 4 Olympic medals and 7 world championship medals.
When Weitzeil broke her first American Record, she had only been swimming for six years. She spent a few years of her life in Sacramento, and joined a recreation team, but decided the sport wasn’t for her. When her family returned to southern California in Santa Clarita at 12 years old, she joined a club team. Weitzel had raw talent, and nearly made her Junior National cut at just 13 years old.
High school swimming
Weitzel attended Saugus High School, where she was an eight-time CIF Southern California Swimming Division I Champion. She won two titles every year in high school — she set national high school records as junior in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. But during her senior year she broke her own records, and dropped her 100-free time to nearly a 46-second swim. With all of her accomplishments, she was also awarded the CalHiSports Division I Girls Athlete of the Year. After all this success as a prep swimmer, Weitzel committed to the University of California, Berkeley, but she chose to defer her enrollment one year in hopes of Rio 2016.
After winning the 50-meter free title at a Junior National competition, Weitzel made her first National Junior Team of her career. The experience allowed her to travel out of the country for the first time and set her up for her future career. Weitzel competed at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Dubai, where she won a gold as a member of the mixed 400-meter free relay and a bronze on the 400-meter free relay.
In Federal Way at the 2019 PAC-12 Champs, Weitzeil was named the 2019 swimmer of the meet at the PAC-12 championships. Weitzeil took titles in the 50 free (21.16), 100 free (46.35), and 200 free (1:41.97), the former 2 breaking championships records in. She also helped Cal to relay titles in 4 relays, including 200 medley (20.57 anchor), 21.47 leadoff on the 200 free relay, 46.10 anchor leg on the 400 medley relay, and 46.39 anchor leg on the 400 free relay. Notably, Cal broke the NCAA and U.S. Open record in the 400 freestyle relay with a 3:07.41.
Less than one month later, Weitzeil set an NCAA, meet, American, US Open and pool record in the 50 freestyle en route to the national title (21.02). She also swam the anchor leg of the NCAA title winning 200 freestyle relay, which set the NCAA, meet, American, US Open and pool record on March 21 (1:24.55). Weitzeil swam anchor in the 400 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams, which also won the NCAA title. A runnerup finish with the 200 medley relay and fourth-place finishes in the 200 free (1:42.29) and 100 free (46.97) rounded out her NCAA performances.
On December 5th, 2019, Weitzeil became the first woman ever under twenty-one seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. Clocking a time of 20.90 to win the A-final at the 2019 Minnesota Invite, Weitzeil blew away the field with a stunning swim.
More over, she took over a full tenth off of her old best, and the old American, NCAA, and U.S. Open records, which stood at 21.02. According to USA Swimming at the time, she owned four of the top ten performances ever in this event. Further, she owned the top three performances of all time, and was a full quarter-second quicker than anyone has ever been (Erika Brown, the second-best performer ever, had been as fast as 21.15).
At the Pac-12 Championships, Weitzeil took the 50 free title easily, winning by .83 with a time of 21.03. It was reported that, however, that Weitzeil hyper-extended her arm on the finish of that race, and consequently sat out for the rest of the meet.
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials (Omaha, Nebraska)
At just 14 years old, and with only two years club experience under her belt, Weitzel qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 100-meter free.
2014 Pan Pacs (Gold Coast, Australia)
Weitzel finished fifth in the 50-meter free and fourth in the 100-meter free at the 2014 Phillips 66 Nationals, which placed her on both the Pan Pac and 2015 World Championship rosters. At Pan Pacs, Weitzel finished 10th in the 100-meter free, but she won silver as a member of the 400-meter free relay.
In Dec. 2014 Weitzel transitioned from a top college recruit to the fastest 100-meter freestyle swimmer in American history. She broke the record at the Junior National Championships in Federal Way, Wash., setting the first American Record swum at a Junior National meet.
Weitzel’s 46.29 was a relay leadoff, which is rare on its own, and the record put her as the 17th teenager in history to hold the record in that event.
2016 US Olympic Trials (Omaha, Nebraska)
Weitzeil became a first time Olympian by winning the 100M Freestyle. Her time of 53.28 bested second place finisher, Simone Manuel, by .24 seconds, and broke the US Record previously held by Cate Campbell. Her top finisher also puts her on the 4x100M Free Relay.
Weitzeil won her second event, the 50M Free, with a time of 24.28, just .05 seconds ahead of second place finisher Simone Manuel.
2016 Olympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Weitzel finished seventh in the finals of the 100 Free with a time of 53.30. She swam the fastest split on the 4×100 Free Relay for the US Team that finished Second, setting a new American Record. teaming with Simone Manuel, Dana Vollmer and Katie Ledecky.
Weitzeil also swam on the 4×100 medley Relay in the heats, thereby receiving a Gold Medal when the US Team won in the Finals. Weitzeil failed to qualify for the finals of the 50 Free finishing sixth in semifinal heat 2.
2017 US World Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Weitzeil sprinted her way to a spot on the US team by finishing second in the 50 Free with a time of 24.77. She advanced to semi-finals in the event at the world champs, placing 15th overall (24.80).
2018 U.S. National Championships (Irvine, California)
Weitzeil was the runnerup in the 50 freestyle (24.63) and finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (53.56). She also swam the 200 freestyle, finishing 41st (2:01.45).
2019 World Championships (Gwangju, South Korea)
Weitzeil started her world championships in the women’s 4×100 free relay, where she split 52.66 on the 2nd leg to help USA get a silver medal. Later in the meet, she swam on the prelims of the mixed 4×100 free relay, which went on to win gold in the finals.
Individually, Weitzeil placed 10th in the 50 free (24.58).
Signing with Speedo
On February 19, 2021, Weitzeil announced she had signed with Speedo ahead of the 2021 Olympic summer.
2020 Olympic Games
After qualifying for her 2nd Olympic Games in the 50 and 100 free once again, Weitzeil began her program in the 4×100 free relay. She swam the 2nd leg for USA in the final, splitting 52.68 to help the Americans finish 3rd and earn a bronze medal.
Weitzeil finished her Olympic program in the 400 medley relay, where she anchored in 52.49 to help USA touch for 2nd, earning silver.
2021 Short Course World Championships
In Abu Dhabi, Abbey Weitzeil brought home a huge haul of 6 medals (2 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). Weitzeil was a huge contributor on the USA relays, swimming on all 7 American finals relays over the course of the meet (1st place for the 4×50 and 4×100 free, 2nd for the 4×200 free, 4×50 medley, and mixed 4×50 medley, and 4th for the 4×100 medley and mixed 4×50 free). She also earned a bronze medal in the 100 free and placed 5th in the 50 free individually.
2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Since January, Weitzeil has been on an absolute tear, posting 53s in the 100 free like it was nothing. She was able to carry her momentum into the first event of trials. Swimming a lifetime best 52.92 for the fastest qualifying time, it’s Weitzeil’s second time sub-53 seconds, bettering the 52.99 she swam at the Olympics and putting her in contention for a Worlds berth. She seemed to lead at the 50 in the final of the 100 free but faded just a bit down the stretch to post a 53.11. While not the best she has been, the swim was just enough to edge Gretchen Walsh for 2nd place and an individual spot in Fukuoka.
She also punched her ticket in the 50 free. Weitzeil broke the US Open record winning the women’s 50 freestyle in a 24.00. Wietzeil broke the previous US Open record of 24.08 which was set back in 2019 by Pernille Blume. She also became the second-fastest American ever, a mere .03 second back from Simone Manuel.
Weitzeil also took on some stroke 50s, which she has been known to do at recount Pro Swim Series stops, throughout the meet. She took 6th in the 50 back prelims with a 27.99 but scratched the finals and took 4th in the 50 fly finals with a 25.78 for her first swim under 26 seconds.
2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)
After a stellar trials, Weitzeil was just a bit off in Fukuoka. She was 52.54 to help the the 400 free relay make the final and was 52.71 as they took silver. She anchored the prelims mixed 400 medley relay in 52.40 and netted a bronze from the finals squad. In the 100 free, she was 53.25 in prelims and 53.36 in semis. In the final, she was just 53.34 for 6th. In the 50 free, she was solid in prelims with a 24.29 and a little better in semis with a 24.27. She was just off with a 24.32 for 4th in the final. Weitzeil had a great start as usual but seemed to be short on the finish. On the mixed 400 free relay, she split 52.94 and helped net a silver. She anchored the prelims 400 medley relay in 52.60. The finals squad won gold.