2017-2018 Will Be Simone Manuel’s Last NCAA Season

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.

Thank you seniors! #GoStanford

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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.

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Yaaaaaas. Congratulations Simone Manuel.


She could be one of the most profitable swimmers of our time. No brainer IMO. Good luck Simone! Wonder if Ledecky will be next….no way she stays all 4 years


Straight A students don’t leave Stanford…one of the top universities in the country for a pay check. Katie’s brother is a Harvard grad. There is absolutely no way she’s leaving early for money.


She could ‘leave’ in the sense that she goes pro and doesn’t swim for them while still graduating with a degree


Hali Finckinger stayed in school after sheturned pro. Maunel is clearly a bigger star, but if she wants to finish her degree with being pro for first few years she can. In addition she can also go back and get it. Her years our swimming will not outlast her school ability. I agree right choice, but still graduate from Stanford in due time. No one can take away your education or your gold medals :):):)


Anyone know if she is graduating this year?


Hali was a bit different as she had finished her eligibility before turning pro. Simone still has another season. Because she red shirted for the Olympic year but was still enrolled in classes (I believe), she may be on track to graduate this spring anyway and might not need to come back.


Why would anyone forfeit their scholarship and turn pro and choose to pay 60,000 out-of-pocket a year in tuition and living expenses to attend Stanford? And if she swims the cost would be zero. And Stanford is harder to get into than Harvard…. where her brother, uncle, and father ( and Yale) all graduated from. I think she and her family value education as much or maybe even more than swimming. I don’t see her being attracted by money because she has always led a very privileged life because of her father…an attorney…and uncle Jon who by the way is worth $340 million and owns a hockey team. Katies’s not chasing money…she’s chasing records and swimming history. And she can… Read more »


If you’re talking about Manuel, she’s graduating this year. If you’re talking about Ledecky, I’m sure she would earn a lot more than $60k next year if she goes pro. Not that I expect her to, or that it’s any of my business.


CALEB….I think Katie really enjoys attending classes and training at the same time. She’s been doing this her whole life. I don’t think she views turning pro as something she needs to rush toward. Yes….I agree that she would make more than $60,000. But, I think free or no charge is always better.


on a straight financial basis, if you subtract 60k and add 100k or 200k of pro $$, you come out ahead even in the short-term.


Yea thats a joke if you are thinking she will not easily make triple that. It is rare for pro swimmer to make much normally they make only 50k or 60 k, but she is not most pro swimmers. Individual Olympic gold medalist 50 and 100 Free, first ever black american female to win individual title. Big companies will ALL want her and she has shown since 2016 basically every international meet she contends or gets titles.


So if her family is worth that much why would she care about the 60k outta pocket that you mentioned? At a certain point even with the “team atmosphere” i think she’ll care more about long course meets than dual meets vs the Pac12. And like others have mentioned, she can still go pro and get her degree at the same time…with her taking class at Georgetown while redshirting, I’d only assume she’s in the same place as Simone, in terms of credits/graduation status.


ERVIN… Caeleb Dressel, Lilly King, Simone Manuel, and Katie Ledecky could all be swimming pro and cashing in right now. But, American swimmers tend to finish school first. Very few American swimmers choose the same path as the great Michael Phelps. The only one that comes to mind that has cashed out recently that fits your narrative and is still in school is BMW driving… Arena Pro Series winner… Chase Kalisz. But, that instate Georgia tuition is nowhere near the cost of Stanford. And LCM meets are not going anywhere. It’s still winter and cold out. I can’t even start thinking about LCM until after NCs and the Easter Bunny.


What about pro swimmer Michael Andrew? ?


First, she can take a hiatus and no school in the world would not readmit her. Second, we are talking $Millions not $60K. Third, why is swimming the only sport where elite athletes choose not to make as much money as they can? We got elite women soccer players begging for more money. Elite women basketball players who play in a failing league for peanuts. Ice Skaters making millions doing shows on ice, etc. All of them maximizing their earnings as best they can during that very short period of time they are highly marketable.


OLDSWIMGUY… $60,000 dollars is the estimated cost of attending Stanford without a scholarship for a year. It was not Katie Ledecky’s pro swimming salary. And Katie Ledecky will graduate in June of 2020. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics starts on July 24, 2020. There probably won’t be time to shoot a commercial. But, she still will probably be able to make some money.


KL can go pro the day after NCAA’s finish. Still finish school and get paid for the Olympic run up


Stanford is harder to get into than Harvard? Heck Alabama is harder t get into than Stanford.


There is some minor difference between her and other members of her family: she is the swimmer that we might not see in many generations to come. I hate her swimming for college.

Mr. F

As far as I know, money has never been a problem for the Ledecky family, so going pro would mainly be a status statement in the swimming world more than anything else. And there’s something to be said about the college swimming experience. Maybe to her, the enjoyment of swimming for an NCAA team would outweigh the monetary gains of starting a professional career early. After all, she’s already at Stanford, have fun with it!


Why these elite girl athletes give up million of dollars to swim college is beyond my comprehension.
Need to take advantage of their marketability when its there like every other elite athlete.

Phelps swims 200 breast rio



How much do you make in a non-Olympic year? Even Ledecky. Compared with how much she can make in the lead up and post Olympics. As long as she gets in on the lead up to the Olympics she may not be leaving that much money on the table and her stature continues to grow as a Stanford grad and NCAA Champion.

Tea rex

It’s not about the money for Ledecky… Or even Manuel. Both can surely ask for a full scholarship, or 5-6 figure endorsements.

Look at some of the swimmers who opted out of college – they got a quick paycheck, but missed out on a supportive network when they needed it most. Thinking Kukors, Hoff, Knutson.

I trust that Manuel has the maturity to decide now is the right time for her to go pro. Good for her – excited to see what she can do focusing on LCM.


Simone is gonna get paid! She should mop up over the next 2 years leading up to Tokyo. Wonder if she will stay at Stanford and train as a pro with Meehan?


Why would she leave?

Coach John

Is there a dedicated pro-group/post-grad group there? that would be one reason…


Lia Neal was there for a while, but from her Instagram posts, it looks like she’s been floating around quite a bit. If there isn’t a group there, there should be. With the men’s team on an upward swing, they could create quite a combined pro group in the next few years.


Lia Neal has actually been traveling on internships with a company she recently got a job with, hence the diversified insta posts

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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