Olympic and World champion sprinter Simone Manuel will not continue her collegiate career after this year’s NCAA Championships. Manuel participated in Stanford’s senior day activities this weekend in their final home meet at the Avery Aquatic Center of the 2017-2018 season.
Manuel is technically a senior this year, but took an Olympic redshirt in her sophomore year, which could allow her one more year of NCAA eligibility if she wanted it. But Stanford head coach Greg Meehan has confirmed to SwimSwam that this season will be Manuel final year of collegiate swimming.
Correction: a previous version of this article read that Meehan said that Manuel is turning pro. Meehan only confirmed that this would be her final season of collegiate eligibility.
Manuel’s professional plans have been a hot topic of discussion among swimming fans. She’s the defending Olympic and World champ in the 100 meter free, having beaten recent world record-breakers Cate Campbell in Rio in 2016 and Sarah Sjostrom in Budapest in 2017. That Rio win made Manuel the first ever black woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming.
After missing most of this college season with an injury, Manuel is back in the water and favored to win the 50 free and 100 free at the NCAA Championships next month. She’s the American record-holder in the 100 and the defending champ in both events. She’s also part of a loaded Stanford team that is heavily favored to repeat as national champions.
While Stanford is good enough to remain among the top programs in the NCAA even without Stanford, Manuel turning pro does add to a big graduating group of major NCAA scorers. This offseason, Stanford will say goodbye to American record-holder Ally Howe, All-American Janet Hu, Olympic diver Kassidy Cook and NCAA champion diver Gracia Leydon Mahoney along with Manuel.