Abbey Weitzeil of Saugus Saturday became the first Southern Californian to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, winning a bronze medal by swimming the second leg on the U.S. women’s 4X100-meter freestyle relay team.
The U.S. was sixth in the field of eight after Erika Brown swam the opening leg in 54.02 seconds. Weitzeil swam her leg in 52.68 seconds, the fastest among the four U.S. relay team members, moving the Americans into fourth.
Natalie Hinds swam the third leg in 53.15 and Simone Manuel the anchor leg in 52.96 as the U.S. completed the race in 3:32.81, .03 of a second behind second-place Canada. Australia won in 3:29.69, breaking its previous world record of 3:30.65.
The medal was the third for Weitzeil, who won a gold medal as part of the 4X100 medley relay team and a silver on the 4X100 freestyle relay team in the 2016 Olympics.
The 24-year-old Weitzeil is next scheduled to compete Wednesday in a heat of the 100 freestyle, which she won at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Weitzeil graduated from Saugus High School in 2015 and deferred entering the University of California, Berkeley for a year to train for the Olympics. She swam for the Golden Bears from 2016-2020, winning the 2019 NCAA championship in the 50 freestyle and was the recipient of the 2020 Honda Sport Award for swimming, given to the national swimmer of the year.