HomeNewsLocalSwimmer Abbey Weitzeil Qualifies for Third Summer Olympics

Swimmer Abbey Weitzeil Qualifies for Third Summer Olympics

SANTA CLARITA (CNS) – Swimmer Abbey Weitzeil from Santa Clarita is headed to the Olympics in Paris and preparing for her third Summer Games as a member of Team USA.

Weitzeil, who set national records while on the Saugus High School swim team 12 years ago, qualified for a spot on the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay team.

She has already won four Olympic medals — one gold, two silvers and one bronze — in two previous Summer Games. She won a gold medal as part of the medley relay team and a silver medal on the freestyle relay team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She won a silver and bronze medal on the freestyle and medley relay teams in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Weitzeil, 27, competed in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the U.S. Olympic swim trials at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis last week. She was fifth in the 100-meter freestyle final and third in the 50-meter freestyle final.

The top six swimmers in the 100-meter freestyle final qualified for the relay team.

The top two swimmers in the 50-meter freestyle qualified individually for the U.S. Olympic swim team.

“I’m here to offer leadership and experience and fun and whatever I can to anyone on the team, no matter their role,” Weitzeil said during a news conference at the swim trials in Indianapolis.

Kate Douglass won the 100-meter freestyle final in 52.56 seconds. Torri Huske was second in 52.93 seconds. They will compete individually in the 100-meter freestyle at the Paris Olympics.

Gretchen Walsh was third in 53.13 seconds and Simone Manuel was fourth in 53.25 seconds.

Weitzeil was fifth in 53.70 seconds. The top five swimmers in the 100- meter freestyle were separated by 1.14 seconds.

In the 50-meter freestyle, Manuel won in 24.13 seconds. Walsh was second in 24.15 seconds. Weitzeil touched in third place in 24.26 seconds, 0.11 seconds behind Walsh.

Weitzeil won the 100-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic trials in 2021 before the Tokyo Olympics that was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

She said her approach to each Olympic swim trials has been different. She went to her first Olympic swim trials before graduating from Saugus High School in Santa Clarita. In her junior year of high school, Weitzeil broke the national high school records in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events. She broke her own record in the 100-meter freestyle in her senior year.

But her high school success didn’t translate to Olympic success in her first trials. She didn’t qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, but she said it prepared her for future Olympic trials.

“Every trials, I’ve come in with a different approach,” Weitzeil said.

She said her first time at the OIympic trials, she was young, 15 years old, and wanted to go for the experience.

Her second time, in 2016, her goals were different.

“I was the girl with nothing to lose,” Weitzeil said. “I was the newbie out there, trying to make my first Olympic team.”

In 2021, it was a weird year for everyone, she said. The pandemic made all the athletes adjust their schedules and training. It complicated qualifying and competing at the Olympic trials. She had one of her best meets, winning the 100-meter freestyle and qualifying individually. She also qualified for the 50-meter freestyle.

But competing in Tokyo was far from easy.

“There’s a little bit of pressure, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do what I’m expected to do, to do what I’ve done before,” she said.

She won a silver medal on the medley relay team and a bronze medal on the freestyle relay team in Tokyo.

In the individual events, she was eighth in the 100-meter freestyle and eighth in the 50-meter freestyle.

She holds the record in the 50-meter freestyle in the USA Swimming Championships in 24.00 seconds, set in 2023, and the course record at Lucas Oil Stadium, also set in 2023.

She had high expectations heading into the Olympic swim trials for the Paris Summer Games and said she is embracing her new role on the team.

“I came into these finals with the same pressure — more pressure on myself — not from the outside world, expecting the best,” she said.

“I have a different role than I’m used to having on Team USA. I think I’m just grateful to be part of it.”

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