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

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

2019 US FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: SIMONE MANUEL

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.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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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Yup
1 year ago

Regan set three World Records….

Olympian
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

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

Yozhik
Reply to  Olympian
1 year ago

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.

Nswim
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

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.

swimswammer
Reply to  Olympian
1 year ago

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.

Yolo
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

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.

Robbos
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

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

Admin
Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

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.

Breezeway
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

On her BACK! and props to Regan Smith too.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Simone is the definition of clutch.

Yozhik
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

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?

Walter
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

People are human?

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

individual, yes.

relays, sort of.

Yozhik
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 year ago

Preferences?
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
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Never forgive? It’s a sport..

Pvdh
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Nobody gives a @&$*

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

exactly

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

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

Troy
Reply to  SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 year ago

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.

Swimmerj
1 year ago

Congrats Simone!!

Philip Johnson
1 year ago

Simone = Sjöström/C1 slayer

Breezeway
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 year ago

Slaying them mentally and physically on the blocks and at the finish

spectatorn
1 year ago

will a breaststroker ever win this award? Or can anyone be more impressive in one year, considered one can only be finishing his/her 4th year of NCAA once? or who else has this amount of success in one year in all 3 formats (SCY, LCM, SCM)?

I see and understand that Simone seems to be in the shadow of KL for several years, so for her to win both 50 and 100 free in WC (a spectacular and rare achievement!!), while KL has an off year, seems to be a good time to give her the award. But I do agree with the other’s sentiment that Regan’s 3 world record in 2 swims, or Lily’s year round dominance in SCY,… Read more »

spectatorn
Reply to  spectatorn
1 year ago

for 2019

Breezeway
1 year ago

the hate for Simone is real! Congrats Simone. Keep it holding down for US sprinting against the world and ignore the hate

Dan
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

There’s no hate for Simone. In fact, there’s a LOT of respect. She’s earned respect. But she won the Golden Goggle award over Regan Smith already. This award is a gift. She didn’t earn it. Other swimmers (King and Smith) had stronger swims. It’s not even close. Ledecky won this award (and the Golden Goggle) when she smashed world records. Suddenly, the rules appear to have changed.

Yozhik
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

People like you bring the word “hate” to the discussion. I remember the interview with Simone after she just won Olympic gold medal. The girl was still overwhelmed with the feelings of joy, happiness and luck that happened to her. And do you know what was the first question she was asked by this stupidity with microphone? “Are you proud to be the first black woman to win gold medal in swimming?” Simone wasn’t even ready to answer such questions. That is how far she was from that at the moment. Later days after being instructed she answered similar questions the way they are supposed to be answered.
I’m not saying that there are no issues. And the win… Read more »

Breezeway
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

People like me? I never brought color into any of my cheering for Simone, Dressel, King or Ledecky. I just see on this site, a lot of people don’t give her the respect she deserves. It’s always luck, other’s bad starts or injuries, etc. She’s just been the best female sprinter on the big international stage the past 4 yrs. And that’s not including NCAAs.

spectatorn
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

the award is for 2019

anonymoose
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

no you dont see that, you misunderstand, just so we’re clear here

Roch
1 year ago

Reagan and King have really strong 2019 resumes to argue in their favor. King – total domination of her competition; Reagan – 3 world records. Both are very deserving. I’m not sure Ledecky earns HM this year, but I’m very excited for her this summer. But dang am I glad to see Simone get this. She’s chronically underestimated and undervalued (not necessarily by SS writers, but definitely by commenters here and the broadcast commentators on TV) and it really frustrates me. 52.0 and wins over the favorites every time, but she’s still belittled and sidelined because her relay performances aren’t good enough, apparently. Everyone recognizes that King is the best at her two events even though her relays are uninspiring,… Read more »

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
1 year ago

My top 5:
1)Regan Smith. 2)Simone Manuel. 3)Lilly King. 4)Katie Ledecky. 5)Olivia Smoliga.

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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