2017 U.S. Trials Previews: Manuel Chasing 23 in 50 Free

Find links to all of our event-by-event previews here.

2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials

  • Tuesday, June 27th-Saturday, July 1st
  • 50-Meter Course
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Meet Info

Simone Manuel (photo: Tim Binning)

Olympic champion Simone Manuel narrowly missed sweeping the sprints at the 2016 Olympics, landing a silver in the 50 free with a 24.09. Since then, she’s continued to show improvement, narrowly missing the American Record and busting out an NCAA Record with a 21.17 during the yards season. After coming up just 2 hundredths shy of Dara Torres’ American Record (24.07), Manuel will look to cement her status as the record holder in both sprints this summer. If she’s on form, she could also become the first American woman to break 24 seconds.

Manuel’s Olympic teammate Abbey Weitzeil, the American Record holder in the yards version of this event, wasn’t quite at her best during the short course season, but is definitely one of the top contenders for a spot in this event. It could come down to the wire between Weitzeil and Madison Kennedy, who took 3rd at 2016 Trials. Aside from Manuel, Kennedy is the only woman who has broken 25 seconds so far this season.

The field in Indianapolis will include a handful of other women who have dipped into the 24-range in their careers. That includes returning Trials finalists Katrina Konopka, Olivia Smoliga, Lia Neal, and Amanda Weir. Last summer, both Smoliga and Konopka notched a spot on the national team with best times in this event. Junior standout Anya Goeders, who just missed out on finals with a 9th place finish at Olympic Trials, shares a best time of 24.85 with Weir and Neal, which she did at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacs. Veteran National Teamer Kelsi Worrell has also dipped under 25, cranking out a 24.98 at the French Elite Championships. Worrell has already been within 2 tenths of that this season with her 25.11 from the Santa Clara PSS.

Mallory Comerford (photo: Tim Binning)

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford has already lowered her best time this season, swimming a 25.28 at the Bucceto Open. Comerford had a huge NCAA season, and while she hasn’t focused on this event, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her dip into the 24-range after her impressive show of speed at the 2017 NCAA Championships.

A few veteran National Teamers have been closing in on the 25-barrier recently. Ivy Martin, who boasts a personal best 25.05, just missed out on finals after finishing 10th in semis at Olympic Trials. She hasn’t competed in long course since Trials, but did do some short course racing in December. NCAA All-American Amy Bilquist has been even closer. She put up a 25.03 at a meet in 2015 and has only gotten faster according to her speed at NCAAs.

Goeders isn’t the only junior swimmer who could land a spot in the final. Another National Junior Teamer, Marta Ciesla, has already been as fast as a 25.07 from Junior Nationals in 2015. Additionally, Isabel Ivey put up a personal best 25.21 at 2016 Junior Pan Pacs.


Place Swimmer Best Time Since 2015 Predicted Time
1 Simone Manuel 24.09 24.2
2 Madison Kennedy 24.39 24.5
3 Abbey Weitzeil 24.28 24.5
4 Olivia Smoliga 24.7 24.6
5 Katrina Konopka 24.68 24.6
6 Lia Neal 24.85 24.8
7 Kelsi Worrell 24.98 24.8
8 Mallory Comerford 25.28 24.9

DARKHORSE: Cal’s Maddie Murphy had an explosive freshman season, dropping nearly 8 tenths from her best time in the 50 free to make finals at the NCAA Championships. Murphy’s best time in the long course pool is a 25.61 from 2016, but we could see another big drop from her to sneak into the final. Another NCAA standout to consider is NC State’s Ky-Lee Perry (25.39), who just became the ACC champion in the 50 free during her first season with the Wolfpack.

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5 years ago

So happy to see Maddy Murphy get a mention here. Her exploive NCAA season was very underrported imo. She dropped so much time this past year and while I don’t expect her to make the team, she is a great dark horse pick

gator fan
5 years ago

Manuel at 24.3 then Weitzeil at 24.4, I don’t think Kennedy will be top 2.

Reply to  gator fan
5 years ago

Weitzeil has not broken 25 since last summer. This event will have some new faces added to the roster

E Gamble
Reply to  JohnJ
5 years ago

You mean the event will have “a” new face. Simone will make it. Only two go. ?

Reply to  E Gamble
5 years ago

National team roster.

5 years ago

Courtney Caldwell may surprise a lot of people

Karl Ortegon
5 years ago

I really want Kennedy to make it. She’s been under 25 a billion times and she was awfully consistent through the rounds of this race at Trials last summer. Seeing her get 3rd in Omaha was tough.

5 years ago

I Would like Smoliga to make the team in the 50 free or Worrell . Manuel is nearly a lock but not certain yet .

5 years ago

Anya Goeders was 24.8 at jr pan pacs and doesn’t get a mention?

Reply to  hswimmer
5 years ago

Anya could win this event outright and it would not surprise. Lia Neal and Smoliga look to be the top contenders to Simone.
Does Ivy Martin still swim?

Reply to  JohnJ
5 years ago

I don’t think Martin swims anymore, not 100% though. Yes I like how Lia has been looking, but I can see her in a top 2 spot in the 100 rather than 50. Smoliga just for backstroke imo. If she even makes it there.

Reply to  hswimmer
5 years ago

HSwimmer – check again. Goeders is indeed mentioned.

Big Fish
5 years ago

Has anyone been able to find the psych sheet yet?

Reply to  Big Fish
5 years ago

Just released, see the article one or two above this

5 years ago

Worrell may surprise in this event!!

Reply to  Hswimmer
5 years ago

Exactly – she is indeed very fast on the 50 free

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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