If you follow International Swimming, after the World Championships last week (arguably only 2nd in importance to the Olympics), there is currently 3 different big meets this weekend and next week. The US Nationals has started two days ago from Stanford while several USA stars are preparing to race in Lima, Peru at the Pan Ams games (swimming starts next week). Then in Tokyo, stars like Ryan Murphy and Andrew Seliskar are racing at the 2019 FINA World Cup Stop #1 this weekend. This post will concentrate on the results of the first two days of the 2019 US Nationals.
Through the first two days of the 2019 US National Championships (July 31st to August 4th), two current Cal Bears have won events while several more Cal Bears just missed out on the podium (4th place).
After a mediocre World Championship showing where she only won a relay Silver, Cal senior Abbey Weitzeil won 100 Free with a personal best time of 53.18, besting her previous personal best in 2016 that earned her a spot on the 2016 USA Rios Olympic team.
Also winning an event is Cal sophomore Reece Whitley who won the 200 Breast 2:09.69 - good for 6th best American time this year. This is young Reece’s 1st US National title, but the expectation is sky high for this former top recruit of the year.
A few Cal Bears just missed out on the podium (top 3) at this meet so far. Junior Trenton Julian finished 4th (just 0.04 shy of 3rd place) in Men’s 200 Fly. Fellow Cal junior Bryce Mefford was 4th in Men’s 200 Back. One time Cal Bears (who went to Wisconsin and now Arizona State) and Calympian Cierra Runge was 4th in Women’s 200 Free.
A big news for Friday at this meet is the final competitive race for Calympian great Dana Vollmer, who will race in 100 Fly. The 3x Olympian has 7 total medals from the Olympic games with 5 of them Gold. After starting her collegiate swimming career at Florida, Vollmer transferred to Cal and promptly led the Golden Bears to the program’s first NCAA team championships in 2009.
For the 2016 Rio Olympics, Vollmer was able to make the Olympics team and win 3 medals - Gold in 4x100 Medley Relay, Silver in 4x200 Free Relay, and Bronze in 100 Fly, after taking some time off to give birth to her first kid. Since then, Vollmer has had a second kid while still trains in Berkeley as a part of the Cal pro group run by head coach Teri McKeever.
Vollmer has become a top athlete despite being diagnosed with a heart condition at a young age. She will surely continue to inspire people around the world with her stories now that she is done racing competitively.