New NAG Record, Sub-46 Split for Simone Manuel

November 21, 2014 –  It was difficult to wake up this morning and NOT think Simone Manuel’s out-of-this-world sprint times from yesterday’s Art Adamson Invitational were just a dream.  The Stanford freshman simply was in a league of her own, as she surpassed her previous 17-18 Girls’ NAG 50y freestyle record of 21.70, posting a shiny new record of 21.59.  That time equals the NCAA Div I 50y freestyle winning time clocked by Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga last season.  To think Manuel cracked 22 in the 50y freestyle for the first time just this past March, and has avoided any hint of a plateau through a change in coaching, it is exciting to even think about the feats she seems primed to accomplish in the event the remainder of the season.

In another tenacious race during yesterday’s finals at Art Adamson, Manuel also threw down the fastest women’s 100 freestyle relay split in history as part of Stanford’s 400 medley relay.  45.81 was the electrifying split Manuel clocked on the anchor leg, going beyond even the legendary previous fastest relay split of 46.07 pulled down by Megan Romano in the 400 medley relay at the 2012 NCAA Div I Championships.  This is the first sub-46 100y free split by a woman…..let alone one who has just begun collegiate career.

Simone Manuel prepares to conquer the 100y butterfly, 200y freestyle, and 100y freestyle events over the next two days of competition.

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I think what’s just as impressive is the fact she was out in 21.7




The 21-second relay split barrier is next! And definitely possible this year!


In 2012 Margo Geer anchored 200mr at NCAAs with a 20.98. I don’t know if it’s been done before or since, but that barrier has been broken. It will be fun to see Simone join that list, and watch to see how low she can bring it!


Romano went 20.99 at SEC’s two years ago and I think AVW has been under 21 on a relay as well


She dove into the water with a 3 second lead. Just think what she is capable of if it was actually a close race. Could we see a Missy vs Simone show down going into the anchor leg of the 400 medley relay at NCAA’s this year?

completelyconquered – in a high level environment like a big NCAA meet…I’m not sure I ever bought the logic that a close race necessarily makes for a faster time. No two swimmers are the same, but in a scenario like this – where the competition is very good, but you’re even better (as compared to when the competition isn’t very good), a swimmer actually gets a physical burst from having a big lead. Keeps them from messing up their technique from trying to hard, etc. That’s my theory, anyway.


Not to mention smoother water to swim through. Unbelievable swims.


Oh, there can be no argument that this situation definitely helped her go this split. A 3 second lead with clear water out in front of her helps tremendously.


It can cut both ways:

Sometimes being 3 seconds ahead is bad: you come off your turn with a wave of swimmers coming at you. You can try to stay underwater past them, but it’s tough.

On the other hand, at a meet like this, the 2nd swimmer might be 3 seconds ahead of the 3rd swimmer, who’s a couple seconds ahead of the next swimmer. There wasn’t the same kind of wave that you get when 7 swimmers are sprinting down pool together.


For the scientifically-inclined, two academics in Europe recently examined the performance of elite swimmers in relays. There is an article about the issue on the website of The Economist, which can be accessed here,, but an excerpt follows: The authors found that the highest-ranked swimmers tend to swim first and last in the relay, and the weakest battle through the less glamorous second and third legs. But they also found, rather surprisingly, that swimmers who went first in the relay performed worse relative to their own individual performance in the same competition, by around 0.3%. In Mr Adrian’s case, this would correspond to roughly an extra 0.15 seconds. This difference declined for the second and third swimmers in the… Read more »

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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