Simone Manuel Breaks National Age Group Record, Swims 2nd-Fastest Time Ever, in 50 Free

On Thursday evening at the 2015 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships Stanford freshman Simone Manuel has broken the 17-18 National Age Group Record in the 50 yard free, and also swum the second-fastest time in history, with a 21.32 to win her first NCAA title.

“I was a little nervous,” Manuel said of her swim. “I made a couple mistakes on my relay swim (21.68), so I just tried to focus on some of the things my coach was telling me. At the same time, you don’t want to think too much because you might mess up something else. So I really just tried to go out there and have as much fun as I could.”

That swim broke the 21.49 that Abbey Weitzeil did in 2014 as the fastest time ever done by a 17-18. Weitzeil is still in high school, but Manuel is on the young end of the college freshman range and doesn’t turn 19 until August 2nd.

That swim also is the second-fastest 50 free in history by a swimmer of any age, and at any level. It sits behind only Lara Jackson’s 2009 rubber-suited 21.27: the U.S. Open, NCAA, and American Record in the event.

Top 10 performances of all time:

1. Lara Jackson – 21.27 (2009)
2. Simone Manuel – 21.32 (2015)
3. Lara Jackson – 21.33 (2008)
4. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.34 (2011)
5. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.35 (2012)
6. Lara Jackson – 21.36 (2009)
7. Lara Jackson – 21.37 (2008)
8. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.38 (2011)
9. Lara Jackson – 21.40 (2009)
T-10. Natalie Coughlin – 21.46 (2007)
T-10. Lara Jackson – 21.46 (2008)
T-10. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.46 (2011)
T-10. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.46 (2011)
T-10. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace – 21.46 (2012)

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From a spectator point of view, it sure is a shame that the 200 freestyle is tomorrow and not saturday. Simone will almost certainly win the 100 free and Missy will most likely win the 200 Backstroke. It would be awesome if each of their last individuals was to decide who the triple event winner is. Unfortunately it is their second swim so not as suspenseful. That leads into 200 freestyle speculation. Missy dropped a little less than a second in her 200IM, with a monster freestyle leg I might add. Simone dropped I believe .27 from her mid-season swim which you could probably argue is a more impressive drop. I want to say Simone Manuel for the win, but… Read more »


I would love to see Simone Manuel win the 50, 100, and 200 free as a freshman. Team Manuel all the way!!!!!!


Amazing new “textile AR” by Manuel! Coughlin’s 21.46 being the previous American textile fastest. Interesting performance list, really makes you appreciate AV-W’s consistency, 6 all-textile swims between 21.34 and 21.46, compared with Jackson’s 6 (most likely) non-textile swims from 21.27 to 21.46.

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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