2019 US FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: SIMONE MANUEL
Simone Manuel is known for coming through when it counts. Manuel, the reigning Olympic Champion in the 100 free, earned 7 medals at the 2019 FINA World Championships. That made her the first woman to win 7 medals in a single World Championships. She’s now tied as the 2nd most decorated female Worlds medalist, behind only Katie Ledecky.
Manuel pulled off a freestyle sprint sweep in Gwangju. Competing against the likes of World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom and former World Record holder Cate Campbell, she won her signature 100 free to earn back-to-back titles in the event with a new American Record. She also won her first Worlds title in the 50 free this year. She now has 4 career Worlds medals.
Manuel helped the USA to several relay medals, including a gold from the World Record-setting mixed 4×100 free relay. She was part of yet another World Record as a member of the women’s 4×100 medley relay team. Manuel helped the USA win silver in the women’s 4×100 free, mixed 4×100 medley, and women’s 4×200 free.
In no particular order
- Katie Ledecky– Though she got off to a rough start by her lofty standards at the 2019 World Championships, citing illness as her reason for scratching multiple events, Ledecky still earned 3 medals in Gwangju. She earned her 4th-straight title in the 800 free. Ledecky also took silver in the 400 free and got a silver as she helped the USA to a new American Record in the women’s 4×200 free.
- Regan Smith– Despite only swimming one individual events at Worlds, Smith set the World Record in both backstroke races. She smashed Missy Franklin’s World Record in the 200 back semis before going on to win gold in the final. Leading off the women’s 4×100 medley relay, Smith set a new World Record in the 100 back as she became the first woman to ever break 58 seconds. Her relay squad won gold in a new World Record.
- Lilly King– Reigning Olympic 100 breast champion King earned back-to-back titles in both the 50 breast and 100 breast at Worlds. She was also a member of the women’s 4×100 medley that set a new World Record. King won 4 total medals at Worlds, also getting a silver in the mixed 4×100 medley. In the ISL’s inaugural season with the Cali Condors, King went undefeated in the breaststroke events. She also became the first woman to go 4-for-4 in both breaststroke events in the NCAA Championships. She cemented her place in history as the first woman to swim sub-56 in the 100 breast at the 2019 Big Ten Championships.