Simone Manuel

View Current photo via courtesy of Jack Spitser

Simone Manuel is a 2016 two-time Olympic champion. She won Olympic gold in the 100 meter freestyle and the 4×100 medley relay. Simone also won Olympic silver in the 50 meter freestyle and the 4×100 freestyle relay. 

On Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Simone made history by becoming the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. Simone accomplished this historic achievement in the 100 meter freestyle with a new Olympic Record time of 52.70. 

Over the 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 FINA World Championships Simone has won ten gold medals. 

At the 2019 FINA World Championships Simone won seven medals marking the record for most medals won at a single world championships by a female.

Simone is originally from Sugar Land, Texas and graduated from Fort Bend Austin High School in 2014. By the time she had graduated high school, she had already broken an American record in the 100 yard free style. Manuel went on to become a multi-time NCAA All-American and Champion for the Stanford Cardinals.

International Competition

photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography

2013 World Championships

Manuel is the first American swimmer in history to break the 25 second barrier in the 50 meter freestyle as a junior swimmer. She was 16 on the first day of the 2013 FINA World Championship’s in Barcelona and therefore, her sub 25 50 free stands as the 15-16 National Age Group record.

2013 Duel in the Pool 

In 2013, she was selected to represent Team USA at the Duel in the Pool against the European All Stars. She became the star of the meet after anchoring the mixed relay to break the tie at the end of the meet, giving Team USA 1 point to beat the European All Stars. USA has never lost to the European All Stars. Needless to say, there was a ton of pressure leading into that final relay, and she delivered. Individually, she finished fourth in the 100 freestyle and third in the 50 freestyle.

2014 Pan Pacific Championships

Over the summer of 2014, Manuel won the 50 freestyle and was second in the 100 freestyle at Summer National Championships to earn a spot on the Pan Pacific Championships roster. At the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia, she earned 2 silver medals in the 400 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay. She also earned a bronze medal in the 100 freestyle and finished fourth in the 50 freestyle.

2015 World Championships

Because of her results from 2014, Simone was qualified to swim both the 100 and 50 individually at

courtesy of Tim Binning,

the 2015 World Championships. She started the meet off by anchoring Team USA’s 4×100 free relay, splitting 53.06 to lead the States to a 3rd place finish. She went on to help the USA earn relay gold in the 4x100m mixed free relay, splitting 53.66 on the third leg.

Individually, Simone placed slightly lower in her events than she had the previous summer, earning 6th in the 100 (53.93) and 8th in the 50 (24.57). She also anchored USA’s 4x100m medley relay in a split of 53.39, which ended up placing just outside of medaling at 4th.

2016 US Olympic Trials

Manuel finished second in the 100m Free, earning her a spot on the US Roster for an individual event, and on the 4x100M Freestyle Relay. Her time of 53.52 was just .24 seconds behind Abbey Weitzeil.

Manuel finished second in the 50 free and earned herself another swim in Rio.

2016 Rio Olympics

In Simone’s first swim at the Rio Olympics, she teamed up with Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer, and Katie Ledecky to earn a silver medal and new American record (3:31.89) in the 4x100m relay, behind the Aussie women who broke the world record (3:30.65).

On Day 6 of the Rio Olympics, Simone made history by becoming the first African American woman

photo credit Simone Castrovillari

to win a gold medal in swimming. And she did it in a new Olympic Record and in a tie with Canadian, Penny Oleksiak, in the 100m freestyle with the time of 52.70.

Manuel followed up her gold with a silver medal in the 50m Free, just two one hundredths of second behind gold medal winner, Pernille Blume of Denmark. In the same finals session, she proceeded to help team USA once again in the 4x100m medley relay, anchoring in a split of 52.43 and touching the wall first to earn her 4th and final medal of the games.

2017 US World Team Trials

Manuel placed second in the 100m freestyle behind Mallory Comerford, touching at 53.05. Manuel also made the US team for the 4X200M Free Relay by finishing fifth in the 200m Free. Manuel then won the 50m Free with a time of 24.27.

2017 FINA World Championships

photo: Mike Lewis

Day one Manuel won gold in American record time, 3:31.72, on Team USA’s 4×100 freestyle relay. Mallory Comerford popped a 52.59 to break the 100m freestyle American record on the leadoff. Kelsi Worrell split a very strong 53.16, followed Katie Ledecky’s a 53.83.  Manuel anchored in 52.14 for the gold.

Day four Manuel picked up another relay gold medal and World Record when she combined with Caeleb Dressel, Matt Grevers and Lilly King in the 4×100 mixed medley relay. Manuel put together a 52.17, nearly an identical split to what she did on the end of the women’s gold medal 4×100 free relay on day one.

100m Freestyle Final – Day Six:  After setting the world record leading off the 4×100 freestyle relay on day one, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom was considered a slam dunk to win 100 free gold. Manuel was one of the front-runners for silver, but she did the unthinkable in the final.  Sjostrom was out fast, under world record pace in 24.75, but Manuel began making up ground on the last 25. She closed with every stroke, and at the touch she edged Sjostrom by four one-hundredths of a second, 52.27 to 52.31.

50m Freestyle Final – Day Eight:  Manuel earned another piece of hardware on the final night of competition, becoming the first American woman to break the 24-second barrier when she touched in 23.97 to take bronze tonight. Winning the race was World Record holder Sarah Sjostrom (23.69) ahead of the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo (23.85), who put up a personal best for the silver.

Day eight in the final of the 4×100 medley relay, Team USA’s Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel teamed up to set a World Record. Baker got the ball rolling on the backstroke split with a personal best 58.54 on the backstroke leg, marking the 5th fastest 100 back ever done by an American. King (1:04.48) kept it close as she battled once again down the stretch with Russia’s Yuliya Efimova (1:04.03), but the Russians took the lead through the halfway mark. On the fly leg, Worrell pulled the USA into the lead with her 56.30, making way for 100 free champ Manuel (52.23) to finish things off as they finished in 3:51.55. That took a half second off the former World Record, which stood as a 3:52.05 done by the USA in 2012.


Collegiate Career


In her first season swimming for the Stanford Cardinal, Manuel made headlines early in her first semester for splitting 45.8 to anchor a 400 freestyle relay. At the same meet, she also broke the American record in the 100 freestyle, swimming to a time of 46.62. After having a standout Pac-12 Championship Meet, where she was runner up in the 50 and 200 free, and won the 100 free in a Pac-12 Record, Manuel qualified for the NCAA Championships.

At her first NCAA Championships Manuel had an impressive performance to say the least. She started off the meet by leading the 200-yard free relay that finished 2nd overall, and followed that up the same day by taking the gold in the 50-yard free. Her time, 21.32, was nearly an American Record, which was also the NCAA Record. For her third race of the evening, she anchored the 400-yard medley relay with a sub-46 second split. The relay complete with Ally Howe, Katie Olsen and Janet Hu broke both the American and NCAA Records.

With day one complete Manuel took Missy Franklin on in the 200-yard free. While Franklin swam the world’s first 200-yard free until 1:40 seconds, Manuel had a great swim where she finished 2nd in front of teammate, Lia Neal. That night Manuel also had a killer split on the 800-yard freestyle relay that finished in 2nd none other than to Cal. For the last individual event of the meet Manuel crushed the American and NCAA Records in the 100-yard free by nearly an entire second, and just missed history’s first 45-second 100 free time from a woman. She carried her momentum into the 400-yard free relay, where she once again split a 45-second anchor leg to help Stanford touch in 1st and break the NCAA and American Records by a second.

2017 NCAA Championships

To say Manuel had a great NCAA Swim Meet would be an understatement. She started as part of Stanford’s Gold Medal winning 800 Free Relay, splitting a 1:41.41. The led off Stanford’s 2nd Place 200 Free Relay, splitting a 21.47. Manuel blasted a 21.17 to win the 50 Free, breaking the NCAA, Meet, and Pool Record. She then finished 3rd behind Katie Ledecky and Mallory Comerford in the 200 Free with a time of 1:40.70. Manuel anchored the 200 Medley relay which finished third. Manuel became the first female swimmer under 46 seconds in the 100 Free, blasting a time of 45.56. Finally, Manuel led off Stanford’s winning 400 Free Relay with a split of 46.02. Manuel played an integral part in Stanford winning the team title.

2017 College Preview SwimSwam Magazine Cover

Heading into her junior year after a massively successful NCAA’s and World Championships, Simone was featured on SwimSwam Magazine‘s 2017-2018 college preview issue. The cover portrays Manuel in a classroom filled with water, exemplifying the student-athletes dual priorities. Manuel returned as the defending champion in the 100 and 50 free, in which she holds both NCAA records. The cover shot was captured by Mike Lewis.

2018 NCAA Championships

Manuel finished her collegiate career in Columbus, Ohio by helping the Cardinals capture their second team title in a row. Manuel competed in the three shortest freestyle events as usual and was a part of four winning relays. She placed third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:41.48 and won the 50 freestyle in a speedy 21.18 and missed her own NCAA Championship Record by 0.01 seconds. She also touched the wall first in the 100 freestyle and took the title with a 45.65.

Going Pro

Simone Manuel announced at the 2018 NCAA championships that she would not continue her collegiate career after this year’s NCAA Championships. Manuel participated in Stanford’s senior day activities in their final home meet at the Avery Aquatic Center of the 2017-2018 season. Manuel was technically a senior in 2018, but took an Olympic redshirt in her sophomore year, which could allow her one more year of NCAA eligibility if she had wanted it.

2018 Honda Cup

Simone Manuel was named the 2018 recipient of the Honda Cup in June, given annually by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards to the best female college athlete in the country. Manuel was named the Honda Sport Award winner in swimming in April, beating out Lilly King, Ella Eastin, and Katie Ledecky for that honor, which pitted her against winners from other NCAA sports for the national award. Manuel was nominated for the Honda Sport Award in swimming in each of her 3 NCAA seasons. This marked the 2nd-straight season in which a Stanford athlete had won this award (Katie Ledecky won as a freshman in 2017); and the 3rd time in 4 seasons in which a swimmer had been honored (Missy Franklin from Cal won in 2015).

Signing with TYR

On July 24, 2018, the day before the 2018 summer US nationals were set to start, Simone announced in a press conference that she had signed with suit company TYR. This was the first major sponsorship deal that Simone had announced. Her Stanford teammates, Lia Neal and Katie Ledecky, were also sponsored by TYR, and Simone cited that as a reason she was comfortable with the suit company, saying both Lia and Katie had aided her through the process.

2018 U.S. National Championships

Manuel won the 50 freestyle (24.10) and 100 freestyle (52.54) at the Phillips 66 National Championships, posting U.S. Open records in both events. She also finished fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:57.01).

2018 Pan Pacific Championships (Tokyo, Japan)

Manuel started off the pan pacs anchoring the 400 mixed medley relay, splitting 52.74 to help USA secure bronze. On day 2, she came back in the individual 100 free to race her way to silver in 52.66, behind Cate Campbell’s 52.03. On day 3, Simone once again had anchor duties, swimming on the 4×100 free relay (52.79) to touch 2nd for the US behind Australia. On day 4, Manuel earned a pair of silvers, first touching 2nd in the 50 free in a time of 24.22. She finished off her pan pacs performance with a silver in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, anchoring for USA in a time of 52.22.

2019 World Championships (Gwangju, South Korea)

Manuel started her world championships in the women’s 4×100 free relay, where she split 51.92 on the 4th leg to help USA get a silver medal.

Manuel was back in the pool on Day 4, anchoring the 4×100 mixed medley relay, splitting 52.37 to help Team USA get 2nd behind Australia by .02.

On Day 5, Manuel raced in the 4×200 free relay, where she led off in a career best of 1:56.09 to help USA to a new American record and silver medal behind Australia.

On Day 6, Manuel won her first gold of the championships, defending her world title from lane 1 to lead the race from start to finish, touching 1st in 52.04 for a new American record.

On Day 7, Manuel anchored the mixed 4×100 free relay, this time getting the best of the Australian team and touching for gold and a new world record.

On the final day of competition, Manuel added to her gold in the 100 free with a crown in the 50 free, her first world title in this event. She touched for first in a time of 24.05, just .02 infront of silver medalist Sarah Sjostrom. Manuel capped her competition off with an anchor in the 4×100 medley relay, splitting a career-best 51.86 to help team USA break their own world record by over 1 second. 

Simone’s 7 medals marked the record for most medals won at a single world championships by a female.

2019 Swammy Awards

For her accomplishments at the World Championships, Manuel earned the US Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy Award.

2021 US Olympic Trials

Coming of off the COVID-19 pandemic and into the 2021 Olympic Trials, Simone had not raced a lot in 2020 or 2021. After scratching the 200 free, Manuel took on the 100 free, where she advanced to semi-finals but then surprisingly finished 9th by less than .1 of a second. Manuel told the press that night she had been diagnosed with Overtraining Syndrome in March, something she’d been feeling the effects of since January.

Even with this physical hinderance, Manuel came back in the 50 free to not only qualify for the Olympic team (her second) but win the event in Omaha in 24.29.

2021 Olympic Games

Simone Manuel started her Olympic Games off by swimming the final of the 4×100 free relay on Day 1, the coaches having faith that she could put up a strong performance. This paid off, as Manuel brought the USA home in 52.96, touching 3rd to move up 2 spots from their morning seed and earn a bronze medal.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 100 Free 2016 Olympic Games
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2016 Olympic Games
Silver 50 Free 2016 Olympic Games
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2016 Olympic Games
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2020 Olympic Games
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2013 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Free Relay 2015 World Championships
Bronze 400 Freestyle Relay 2015 World Championships
Gold 100 Free 2017 World Championships
Gold 400 Freestyle Relay 2017 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2017 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2017 World Championships
Bronze 50 Free 2017 World Championships
Gold 50 Free 2019 World Championships
Gold 100 Free 2019 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2019 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Free Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 800 Freestyle Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 50 Free 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Bronze 100 Free 2014 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 400 Medley Relay 2014 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2014 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 100 Free 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 400 Freestyle Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 400 Medley Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Bronze 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 50 Free 23.97 07/30/17 2017 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 100 Free 52.04 07/26/19 2019 FINA World Championships
Gwangju, South Korea
lcm 200 Free 1:56.09 07/25/19 2019 World Championships
Gwangju, South Korea
scy 50 Free 21.17 03/16/17 2017 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indian
scy 100 Free 45.56 03/18/17 2017 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indian
scy 200 Free 1:40.37 02/24/17 2017 Pac-12 Championships
Federal Way, Washington
Simone Manuel (photo: Jack Spitser) Simone Manuel (photo: Mike Lewis) Simone Manuel (photo: Mike Lewis) Simone Manuel wins 100 freestyle world title 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis) (photo: Mike Lewis) Simone Manuel (photo: Jack Spitser) Simone Manuel (photo: Jack Spitser)