First Colony’s Simone Manuel Breaks Dagny Knutson National Age Group Record

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.

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I watched Simone and First Colony swim occasionally over the last few years. I think this is a “tip of the iceberg” swim for her. Coach Allison Beebe has done a great job of bringing Simone along, as well a number of other swimmers at the First Colony program. Kudos to FCST from someone outside the state of Texas. I am so fired up about our young talent that is stepping up in the early part of the quadrennium cycle. I would attribute some of these extraordinary times we are seeing around country to the very focused training done during the lead up to the Olympic Trials and last summer. Sometimes all that hard work takes a while to show… Read more »


Yes! Manuel, Neal, Hu, Stewart, Jones, Ledecky, Mann, Ryan, Smith, Smoliga, for the girls these next 4 years. The list goes on and on. The boys….Conger, Murphy, Seliskar, Kalisz, Hirschberger, etc. etc.


Kinda cool to see Jack Roach show up and sign up to time tonight for finals… lane 8 timer!

Class Act Jack. Thanks for coming!


holy smokes! great times (especially for Manuel)–lifetime bests

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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