Weitzeil headed to World Championships

Saugus alumna Abbey Weitzeil swims the 100 backstroke. Dan Watson/The Signal

Anyone probing results from the Phillips 66 National Championships last week might have noticed one name conspicuously missing from the women’s 100-meter freestyle championship final.

Saugus High graduate Abbey Weitzeil had to settle for the event’s consolation swim after a slower-than-expected time in prelims.

It was another installment of what’s largely been a tough year in the pool for Weitzeil, as detailed in a recent Swimming World Magazine story.

However, it was not the final installment.

Weitzeil qualified third for Saturday’s 50 free final in Indianapolis, Indiana, and then narrowly secured a  second-place finish (24.74 seconds) and a spot on the United States’ roster for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, next month.

“I actually couldn’t see the board because my goggles were so foggy because I put them on so early before my race,” Weitzeil said in a story on Swimming World Magazine’s website. “Once I took them off, I saw the number ‘2’ was next to my name, and I was super, super excited.”

It was a bright spot in what’s been a bumpy transition to collegiate swimming at Cal Berkeley after stellar performances last year on her way to the Rio Olympics, where she won gold and silver medals in relays.

As told by Swimming World Magazine staff writer David Rieder, Berkeley meant major lifestyle changes for Weitzeil, living on her own for the first time and going back to school after taking a year off to focus on Rio.

She also switched coaches from Canyons Aquatic Club’s Coley Stickels to Cal coach Teri McKeever.

Weitzeil was sick for the Pac-12 championships and couldn’t finish the meet, according to Swimming World.

At NCAA nationals, she took fifth in the 50 and eighth in the 100.

“Coming in to freshman year, it wasn’t the coaches at all—it wasn’t Teri,” Weitzeil said. “I knew it was going to be a rough transition. What I was doing with the coach I was with was working. Everything freshman year of college—everyone hears it—it’s hard.”

On June 27, Weitzeil swam a 55.48 in the national championships 100 free prelims. It placed her in the B final.

She took second in that swim with a 54.99.

“The 100 was definitely not my best race,” she said. “It was pretty devastating not even making the A-final in that. I just wanted to keep my head held high. I had a lot of fun just trying to keep it light-hearted and cheer for my teammates and not dwell on it.”

That mindset, it appears, paid off.

The 17th FINA World Championships are set for July 14-30.

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