Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Simone Manuel just finished her freshman year at Stanford University.
In the classroom, the 18-year-old swimmer is considering a major in communications or science, technology and society. And she plans to return to the classroom this fall for her sophomore year.
In the pool, Manuel — who gained attention after beating Missy Franklin at a swim meet a year ago — continued to leave most of her competitors astern.

Manuel set school records in the 50, 100 and 200-yard freestyle events and an American record in the 100-yard free (short course). To date, she has broken so many National Age Group records (NAGs) that it’s hard to keep track.

Two years ago, Simone challenged Ryan to a race in the pool.
“He only beat me because his technique was so bad that I kept laughing at how funny he looked,” she joked. “Other than that, I know I’m faster.”
Against her peers, she’s been faster for years. In 2011, Manuel made her international debut, finishing fourth at junior worlds. A year later, she made the U.S. junior Pan Pac team, winning gold in the 100-meter free.
By 2013, she was setting NAGs in 50 and 100 freestyle races. At world championships in Barcelona, she won gold in the 4x100-meter freestyle (she swam in the prelims) and finished seventh in the 50 free, swimming 24.80 seconds — a NAG record for 15-16-year-olds.
After graduating from high school last year, Manuel cemented her presence as one of America’s top freestyle sprinters when she beat Franklin in the 100 free at the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara (now the Arena Pro Swim Series). 
Franklin knows that Manuel is no longer an up-and-comer. She’s arrived.
“She’s fearless,” said Franklin. “She’s going to get up on the block, and she’s going to race, and she’s going to do whatever it takes. She’s not afraid of anything, and I think definitely that’s something that not everyone has. It’s really special, and it’s going to take her a really long way.”

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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