In any sport, there is usually an athlete that transcends the game. A once-in-a-generation, or sometimes once-in-a-lifetime, type talent. Hockey had Gretzky, baseball had Ruth, basketball had Jordan. And now, college swimming has Abbey Weitzeil.
Just two days after her 23rd birthday, and for the second time this calendar year, Weitzeil managed to break her own 50-yard freestyle record with a time of 20.90. Her previous record was 21.02, set back in March during the NCAA Championships. Weitzeil now holds the top three times ever and four of the top five times.
She is the first woman ever to get a time under 21 seconds. Weitzeil’s time of 20.90 is a full quarter-second faster than the next fastest time done by any other swimmer. In fact, that quarter-second difference between Weitzeil and second place Erika Brown is greater than the difference between Brown and eighth place Farida Osman.
After this performance, Weitzeil appears primed for a spectacular NCAA performance this spring.
Tom Aizenberg covers women’s swim and dive. Contact him at [email protected].