In an interview after Stanford’s commanding win of the 2018 NCAA D1 Women’s Championships Saturday night, Simone Manuel confirmed that she will turn professional and continue to train at Stanford under Greg Meehan next year.
After Manuel participated in Stanford’s Senior Day festivities, we reported that she will not see out her NCAA eligibility (she took an Olympic redshirt in her sophomore year).
Manuel’s professional plans have been a highly-debated topic among swimming fans. She’s the defending Olympic and World champ in the 100 meter free, having beaten recent world record-breakers Cate Campbell in Rio in 2016 and Sarah Sjostrom in Budapest in 2017. That Rio win made Manuel the first ever black woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming.
After missing most of this college season with an injury, Manuel won the 50 free and 100 free at the NCAA Championships this week. She’s the American record-holder in the 100 (45.56), and came close to that time in her win on Saturday (45.65). Individually, she also took third in the 200 free, going 1:41.48.
As for relays, she anchored Stanford to wins in the 400 medley, 200 medley, and 400 free relays. The medley relays were both American records — in the 200, she split 20.45, the fastest 50 free relay split of all-time. In the 400 free relay, she made up 1.3 seconds on Cal’s Katie McLaughlin for a thrilling come-from-behind win (her split of 45.47 is the second-fastest relay split of all-time).