Cassidy Bayer, a former NCAA swimmer for Cal and Tennessee, announced her retirement from swimming via Instagram today. Bayer had a star-studded career that culminated in being named onto the U.S. National Team and finishing third in the 200 fly at 2016 U.S. Trials, just missing out on the Olympic team. However, due to her struggles with an eating disorder, her career had to be cut short.
Bayer originally told SwimSwam in January that she planned on returning to the sport in May 2022.
Yes, it all didn’t go as planned. I didn’t make the Olympics, I didn’t win a National Title, and I didn’t become a professional athlete. But you know what I did do? I stood up and continue to stand up for athletes with eating disorders and everything in between when it comes to mental health in sports. Throughout my journey the most important thing I learned was that it’s okay to not be OK. Shit happens people! We fall and sometimes can’t get up on our own. And that’s OK. So to anyone who has watched my journey or continues to follow it, know I’m not perfect but also please know you’re never alone.
Bayer began to turn heads early on in her swimming career when she swam at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club. There, she finished third in the 200 fly and fourth in the 100 fly at the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials as just a sixteen year old. However, she tore her meniscus a few months after trials, which forced her to get surgery and miss her entire junior year of high school. In 2018, she was ranked #5 on SwimSwam’s list of top high school recruits. She started off her career at Cal for the 2018-19 season, and finished 15th in the 200 fly at the 2019 NCAA Championships.
However, in the midst of the 2019-20 season, Bayer announced that she would be taking a break from swimming to treat an eating disorder that she developed. Then, when she returned in October 2020, she transferred to Tennessee, but ended up only competing in two dual meets for the Volunteers.
In March 2021, Bayer said via Instagram that she would be going back into eating disorder treatment for the second time. Throughout her career, she has constantly used social media as a platform to share her story and spread awareness about eating disorders.
Bayer was originally listed as a redshirt junior for Tennessee, meaning that she would have had either one or two years of extra eligibility had she stayed.
A winning attitude to life. Best wishes going forward.
I will always remember her great post-race reaction when she broke the minute for the first time at 2013 US nationals. It was priceless. Greatest photo ever on SwimSwam.
Very well written. Honest. And moving.
Thanks for the honesty, and on behalf of all of the young swimmers with eating disorders, thank you for letting them know its ok not to be ok – and that talking openly about it is the first step.
Great memories of my twin swimmers jumping up and down when you broke the NAG fly record. Good luck!
Wish you all the best.
Thank you for your brutal honesty. I am hopeful that your comments will help others to face similar difficulties. Enjoy the rest of your life!
you made it into the rarified world of elite swimming. well done