Meet the 2016 USA Olympic Swim Team: Simone Manuel

Meet first-time Olympian Simone Manuel.  A sprinter from Sugar Land, Texas, Manuel burst onto the scene as a high schooler, setting American records and making multiple international teams as a teenager.  Manuel won four titles at 2015 NCAA’s as a true freshman before electing to redshirt this past season.  The focus on long course paid off: she qualified in the individual 50 and 100 freestyles, which also earns her a spot on the 4×100 freestyle relay.

In her “Meet the Team” interview, Simone discusses her background, her favorite memories from age group swimming, and her love for relays (even the non-traditional ones).

More information on Manuel, courtesy of her official SwimSwam bio:

Simone Manuel is originally from Sugar Land, Texas and graduated from Fort Bend Austin High School in 2014. Manuel is an multi-time NCAA All-American and Champion for the Stanford Cardinals. In just her freshman year she broke the American and NCAA Records in the 100-yard freestyle, which is her signature event.

2013 World Championships

Manuel became the first junior swimmer to break the 25 second barrier in the 50m freestyle. She was on the 2013 World Championship Team and as well as the 2013 Duel in the Pool team that competed against the European All Stars.

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.

Collegiate career

In her first season swimming for the 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.

2016 US Olympic Trials

Manuel finished second in the 100M Free, earning her a post 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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Laci G.
6 years ago


Laci G.
6 years ago

WOW! Very proud of you!

6 years ago

♡ her

Charles Perkins
6 years ago

So very proud of you! Keep representing.

Patty Martin Duhon/ Stewart
6 years ago

Simone, I am so proud of you! I worked with you when as your nutritionist ( Patty Martin Duhon now Patty M Stewart) when you were 15 years old. I loved working with you and your mother. I know you will do well and make us so proud. Sugar Land will be watching you and praying for you! Enjoy, have fun, you got this!

Ty Green
6 years ago

Did u live in New Orleans b4 Katrina? And did any of your Relatives play ball at Xavier of La.

6 years ago


6 years ago

Surprise us with your new personal best in three days, please. This team needs it.

About Morgan Priestley

Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

Read More »