2019 Swammy Awards: US Female Swimmer of the Year Simone Manuel

To see all of our 2019 Swammy Awards, click here. 


Simone Manuel (photo: Tim Binning)

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.

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Regan set three World Records….


Yeah, I got a bit confused there too…
But Simone is a pure racer, not much about times, just straight up racing and touching the wall 1st


Just recently you said something different, that swimming competition will be always about time. With that said I consider 52.04 the result that deserves award. The third performance in the history and who knows who and when will swim faster.


Yes but Smith put up three times that are body lengths ahead of the next closest finisher, (200 SF,F. 100 lead off). This isn’t even counting how historical the relay was. Simone is awesome, but with a greater historical perspective, her times aren’t as impressive, despite the impressive wins she had.


you´re right but if you don´t wanna make i about times but rather about being 1st then it should be King winning. Back-to-Back Breastroke double at Worlds + 4 for 4 at NCAAs + only unbeaten athlete in the ISL. I respect Simone but whatever way you put it…it should be Smith or King.


Exactly. Simone had a good 100, a decent 50, and some relay splits that were right at or over what she swam individually which isn’t as impressive as what Regan did imo.


Fastest women swimmer in the world, wins the 2 most hotly contested races, hard to disagree with Simone.

Honestly it was such a tossup to us. Yes, Regan had a great meet, but she had a much more limited schedule. Simone had to carry a struggling Team USA on her back for most of the meet.

We’re philisophically opposed to ties in these awards, but if we were ever going to give one, this one would be year.


On her BACK! and props to Regan Smith too.

Bobo Gigi

Simone is the definition of clutch.


How do you explain 53.3 (first leg 4x100fr relay) at first day of competition in Rio and then 52.7 in individual race a few days later?


People are human?


individual, yes.

relays, sort of.


I will never forgive Manuel this 0.6 sec. That would put Ledecky ahead of Cate Campbell giving her clear water. And Campbell would be in chasing position forcing her fast start (we know what could happen with the second half after that).

Ol' Longhorn

Never forgive? It’s a sport..


Nobody gives a @&$*




who are u to forgive their ways of racing ? the past is over …focus on the OT


She almost didn’t qualify for the final at Gwangju and I doubt qualifying equal last with 53.31 was the plan but might have been the scare she needed for the amazing final swim.


Congrats Simone!!

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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