Janet Hu caught the country off-guard when she broke the 15-16 National Age Group Record in the 50 free at Winter Nationals in 22.13. Now in Orlando, with full recognition as one of the country’s best high school swimmers, she dove in right next to First Colony’s Simone Manuel, who will enter next season as the best high school sprinter in the country.
In just a handful of seconds, Manuel would come out and break Hu’s 15-16 National Age Group Record in the event with a 22.04: taking the event victory at the NCSA Junior National Championships in Orlando.
That swim is exactly seven-tenths better than Manuel had been coming into the meet, and she added this to her 100 freestyle NAG Record from Wednesday night when she swam a 47.80.
Manuel is equally as good in long course as she is in short course, and should already be in the hunt to make the American squad that is sent to the World Championships this summer. If she continues to rise at such a swift pace, she’s on a collision course with the 2016 Olympic Team. At only 16, we don’t want to heap too many expectations upon her, but she has all of the tools to become that lockdown, podium-worthy sprinter that the Americans have been lacking for the last several years.