Cassidy Bayer Is Working Her Way Back to Competition; Not Ready Yet

Former U.S. National Team member and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials finalist Cassidy Bayer is still working her way back to collegiate swimming – but not this season.

Bayer, who is still on Tennessee’s roster, told SwimSwam on Friday that she is planning to return to competition, if her body allows it, but not this season.

Bayer says that she was not cleared to swim this semester, so she has been training with the local Masters swim team in Knoxville. She is hoping to be back with the team in May of 2022.

Bayer began her college career at Cal in the 2018-2019 season. After a season-and-a-half with the Golden Bears, which included placing 15th at the 2019 NCAA Championships, Bayer announced that she was planning to take a break from swimming to focus on treating an eating disorder.

In October of 2020, she announced that she had plans to transfer, and eventually turned up in January 2021 to race two dual meets with the Tennessee Volunteers – although both were in exhibition competition only, and none where in her specialty butterfly events.

Bayer’s potential at a young age, making an Olympic Trials semifinal at just 16 years old, has left a lot of interest in her potential as a swimmer. She was the #5 recruit in the high school class of 2018 and a four-time state champion in the 200 IM in high school.

Bayer has used that platform to draw attention and awareness for eating disorders, which she says she has struggled with. She frequently posts on her Instagram channel about her own recovery.

Those two dual meets are Bayer’s only official competition results since December of 2019

Tennessee lists her as a redshirt junior, meaning she would have either one or two seasons of eligibility remaining if she rejoined the varsity squad at Tennessee.

Bayer is majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism and Electronic Media.

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3 months ago

Wishing her all the best…in and out of the pool.

Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

Good for her, what a fighter. But geez, our sport sure causes/exacerbates a lot of mental illnesses.

Former Big10
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 months ago

Lot of time spent in your own head…

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
3 months ago

She did more than make semis at trials in 2016-she got 4th in the 100 fly and 3rd in the 200 fly.

Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
3 months ago

She also would’ve made the team if Camille Adams’s DQ in the heats (or semis?) wasn’t overturned. Granted, the DQ was kind of bogus, so the right call was made, but still interesting

Reply to  Swimm
3 months ago

I remember her being out super fast. I think she was probably super amped (understandably) and would have made the team if she’d been a touch more controlled. Incredible potential.

Reply to  Swimm
3 months ago

When you say “the DQ was kind of bogus, so the right call was made”…I’m not sure you really know exactly what happened there…and that moment (if handled correctly) may have shape Bayer’s life dramatically differently than what has happened

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
3 months ago

Adams was called for a stroke infraction, but video of the turn underwater showed that it was clearly the wrong call, and it was overturned. Not sure what the issue is here.

Reply to  HJones
3 months ago

Did it show that, though? You have access to that?

Slower Than You
3 months ago

Eating disorders are no joke, especially in this sport. Cassidy, if you’re reading this, you’re a huge inspiration, and I want nothing more than for you to succeed!

Reply to  Slower Than You
3 months ago

Agree wholeheartedly. Cassidy you are so brave and an inspiration to all young swimmers going through the same struggles. Wishing you all the best moving forward.

Regarding the comment above as to why the sport of swimming exacerbates these types of struggles there are many factors. One is weight gain depending on body type can significantly impact body positioning and results in the water. Another is training and being on deck and in locker rooms everyday in a bathing suit with body types different than yours. This is exacerbated by needing to squeeze into knee skins for taper meets. One starts to see themselves as less than due to their body type and it often spirals from there.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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