We’ve seen an almost-uncountable number of superstar 15-16 year old girls move through the age group in the past few years. There’s one, however, that you haven’t been talking about, that hasn’t been bouncing around at swim meets all over the country, but who is beginning to unleash this week on the NCSA Junior National Championships: Simone Manuel. The 16-year old swimmer from First Colony in Southwestern Houston won the first NCSA title of the night on Wednesday in Orlando with a 47.73 in the 100 yard freestyle. That breaks the National Age Group Record set by legendary age grouper Dagny Knutson in 2008 with a 47.80.
Manuel was already sniffing this record coming into the meet, so even a small drop got her over the edge and jumped Dagny Knutson to push Manuel from 2nd to 1st all-time in the age group.
The runner-up in that race was Asphalt Green’s Lia Neal in 47.91; Neal, an Olympian, is now 18, but still ranks third all-time on the 15-16 list. Janet Hu took 3rd in 48.67, and Kylie Stewart took 4th in 48.98. Those four are all National Age Group Record holders in one event or another.
Manuel doesn’t age-up until August 2nd of this year, so she could take on some long course records as well if she continues to improve.
Knutson still holds the yards records in the 200 free, the 200 IM, and the 400 IM for 15-16’s.
Live results are still not working, but check back after the meet for full updated results of the session.