Simone Manuel on Skipping Nationals: ‘This Sacrifice Is an Investment for the Future’

by Riley Overend 20

June 25th, 2023 National, News

Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel delved into her decision to skip next week’s U.S. National Championships in an Instagram post, noting how she believes that “this sacrifice is an investment for future.”

“Swim update: After discussions with my coaches and thoughtful consideration, I have decided not to race at this year’s Nationals,” the 26-year-old American sprinter wrote. “This year has been full of new challenges for me. Quite frankly, it’s really not as simple as it may seem. There were a lot of steps, precautions, and patience to get my body back to normalcy and adjusting to a new training environment. I can confidently say that I’ve made great progress this year. I remember what I couldn’t do, not too long ago.”

Manuel struggled with overtraining syndrome (OTS) in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Last August, she announced she was moving to Tempe to join Bob Bowman‘s stacked pro group at Arizona State. This year, Manuel raced at all four stops of the Pro Swim Series, clocking season-best times in the 50 free (25.18) and 100 free (54.50) that would have seeded her 13th and 14th, respectively, had she entered those events at U.S. Nationals. She holds the American record in both events at 23.97 and 52.04 from the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, respectively.

“As I continue to progress, it’s important for me to feel mentally and physically good about my competition schedule and the purpose of each one I attend,” Manuel wrote. “Not competing at Nationals is not a decision I took lightly, but I firmly believe that this sacrifice is an investment for the future. 🍅

“The goal has always been to be my best for the 2024 Olympic Trials and hopefully, Paris,” she added. “I know I can’t reach that goal if I’m not patient with myself and this process, so this summer, I will be prioritizing that. The journey continues! The support of my coaches and teammates has been phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see them kill it at Nationals! 😈”

Manuel also missed last year’s U.S. International Team Trials while dealing with the same OTS issue. The American record holder has won a whopping 16 medals at the LCM World Championships, including 11 gold. She also currently holds the world record in the women’s LCM 4×100 medley relay, where she provided a blistering 51.86 anchor split.

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Taa
11 months ago

It sounds like she is taking the summer off. She said “no nationals” which is the meet at the end of summer. Seems like she should be top 6 in at least one event at the end of the season to be part of national team next year. If she can’t do that then what is really going on really maybe just a glorified masters swimmer now.

Admin
Reply to  Taa
11 months ago

Nationals is this meet. USA Swimming isn’t doing a separate end-of-summer Nationals this year. This meet is serving the function of last year’s International Team Trials, but is called officially “Phillips 66 National Championships”.

There will still be a Junior Nationals end of summer.

Taa
Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

Okay I stand corrected. But is there an end of season meet of national caliber? I thought they had something equivalent

Admin
Reply to  Taa
11 months ago

There are the “TYR Pro Championships” from July 26-29.

Which I guess we were all sort of lead to believe would be some new or moderately more interesting format, but looking now at the meet information (which wasn’t posted last I looked), it’s just an end-of-summer National Championship meet, just one with prize money (like a Pro Swim).

So I guess we’re both right.

Hiswimcoach
11 months ago

She’s earned the right to make this choice …. With that being said, it doesn’t inspire confidence in her. Only time will tell though. Best of luck to her!

TimmyTongle
11 months ago

It’s just… high-level racing experience. Would that not be beneficial as a step toward the big “Paris 2024”? Are we just going to face actual competition, shaved and tapered, once in like 3 years a month away from the Olympics? What else does one have to engage themselves in for 3 years while training full-time? What is the motivation? What are the benchmarks and steping stones one must reach with no method of gauging them?

So many questions. Wish her the best regardless, and I have faith in Bowman at least!

Marklewis
Reply to  TimmyTongle
11 months ago

She knows she won’t get top 2, so she’s taking a pass.

She could be past her prime too. That happens to the best. Natalie Coughlin, Missy Franklin and many others.

JVW
Reply to  TimmyTongle
11 months ago

She’s 26 and has been to a couple of Olympics and multiple World Championships. That’s not to speak of U.S. Nationals and Trials meets. I’m pretty sure she can skip some high-level meets and still remember what it’s like to perform at that level. And if her sponsors are OK with her focusing her efforts on Paris, then who are we to demand that she swim this summer?

Last edited 11 months ago by JVW
Marklewis
11 months ago

She’s not swimming fast enough to make the team.

She wants to give herself more time to get competitive. So time will tell if she can drop her times to where she once was.

Only she and her coach know how she’s really doing. Watching her swim in recent meets, she doesn’t have a lot of zip yet.

Bupwa
11 months ago

Simone your instagram post is inspiring to all, not just swimmers! You are a Champion. Best wishes to you and the group of great people around you. MANY are excited to continue supporting you in and out of the pool!

Philip Johnson
11 months ago

She’s forever an Olympic champion.

Zippo
11 months ago

She’s done.

Mike O’Harn
11 months ago

What future ?

Hank
Reply to  Mike O’Harn
11 months ago

Exactly

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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