Simone Manuel, Penny Oleksiak Set to Return at Pro Swim Series in Knoxville

by Riley Overend 128

January 06th, 2023 Canada, International, News

TYR Pro Swim Series – Knoxville

  • January 11-14, 2022
  • Knoxville, Tennessee
  • LCM (50 meters), Prelims/Finals
  • Psych Sheets

Simone Manuel will make her return to elite swimming next week, according to recently released psych sheets for the Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Leading up to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, Manuel was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, a condition in which the training one is doing outpaces their body’s ability to recover. She dealt with depression, anxiety, and insomnia that spring before taking a break from competition last year. The 26-year-old American skipped last June’s World Championships after winning a female-record seven medals at the meet in 2019. It was her first time missing a major international meet since the London 2012 Olympics.

Not only will next week’s Pro Swim Series stop be Manuel’s first high-level meet since the Tokyo Olympics, but it will also represent her first race with stakes since moving to Arizona State to train with Bob Bowman’s all-star group of pros last August.

The 26-year-old Manuel is joined on the entry list by 22-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak, who is making a return of her own following meniscus surgery in late August. In an Instagram post, Oleksiak wrote that her recovery would probably “be the longest and most tentative one I’ve ever had to deal with.”

Manuel and Oleksiak will forever be linked in Olympic lore after tying for the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle at the Rio 2016 Games. At last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Oleksiak added three more medals to her collection, becoming the most decorated Canadian Olympian of all time with seven total.

In Tokyo, Manuel brought home bronze in the women’s 4×100 free relay, upping her career tally to five Olympic medals. She also currently holds the World Record in the women’s LCM 4×100 medley relay, where she blazed a blistering 51.86 anchor split.

Also making a long-awaited return is reigning 400 free Olympic champion Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia, who is expected to swim for the first time since 2021 Short Course Worlds.

Fellow Olympic champions Katie Ledecky, Bobby Finke, Chase Kalisz, and Ryan Murphy also appear on the psych sheets for next week’s Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville. Peacock is slated to air the finals live next Thursday and Friday starting at 6 p.m. EST.

Last year’s Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville was canceled due to COVID-19.

This year’s opening stop in Knoxville is the first of four on the Pro Swim Series. The tour wraps up with meets in Fort Lauderdale (Florida), Westmont (Illinois), and Mission Viejo (California).

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Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

From the 2022 World Aquatics Championship squad, the list of the most vulnerable female swimmers from USA Swimming is denoted below:

W 100 FR – Comerford, Mallory (top 6)
W 100 BR – Lazor, Annie
W 200 BK – White, Rhyan
W 200 IM – Hayes, Leah
W 400 IM – Weyant, Emma

The list of the most likely potential replacements is denoted below:

W 100 FR – Manuel, Walsh, Weitzeil (top 6)
W 100 BR – Dobler, Jacoby
W 200 BK – Smith
W 200 IM – Douglass (no brainer)
W 400 IM – Hayes, Walsh

Meet the new Regan Smith (2023), same as the old Regan Smith (2019).

If Alex… Read more »

Troyy
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

W 100 FR – Everyone vulnerable besides Huske
W 200 BK – Both are vulnerable (their best times last year were separated by 0.05)

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
30 days ago

The women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay is a lost cause unlike the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay.

https://youtu.be/8XIC6O9P4WE

By the way, Championship Record.

Rhyan White posted a time of 2:06.96 in the final of the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships.

Springfield's #1 Athlete
1 month ago

Will be interesting to see what times are dropped, especially in women’s freestyle. I do expect the first serious worldwide times in 2023 will be at the NSW Open State Championships, as is tradition.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Springfield's #1 Athlete
1 month ago

Gretchen Walsh is the wild card in the women’s 50 meter freestyle and women’s 100 meter freestyle. It’s a question of whether Gretchen Walsh can finally put it together in long course.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

I had to do a double take. Katie Ledecky is going to attempt the W 200 FR – W 400 IM double on Day 2 of the competition? Make sure the paramedics are ready with the paddles.

Swimfan27
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Huh? She’s done this consistently at Pro Series meets for the last 5+ years…

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Hell of a week to make that joke, man.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

And even besides that, you can’t imagine a world where Katie Ledecky – KATIE LEDECKY – can swim a 200 free and a 400 IM back to back?

Gingerbread House of Cards
Reply to  Steve Nolan
30 days ago

We already know that she can’t close a 200 fly (2022 U.S. Nationals).

Yozhik
1 month ago

” Manuel was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, a condition in which the training one is doing outpaces their body’s ability to recover”
Coach Meehan has never mentioned that Manuel’s training load was increased significantly. He never even said that it was increased at all compare to her regular training exercises at the beginning of the season. So if this OTS diagnosis is true indeed then there was some other reason why Manuel wasn’t able to recover after regular training session. So unable that even short break in training or slowing it down didn’t help.
What was the cause of this sudden conditions we will probably never know.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yozhik
Troyy
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

She had pool access pretty much the whole way through the pandemic but no taper meets in 2020 when she usually has at least one every year so maybe the lack of taper meets contributed.

oxyswim
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Everyone was dealing with elevated levels of general stress in 2020 as well. If cortisol levels are way higher than normal, then what was a good training load for you could become more than you can handle.

dave
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Manuel was training with Ledecky on the 100m (get Katie faster) + 200m (get Simone faster), I imagine that working with Katie could be a very intense experience. Don’t know if this was the cause, but putting two very competitive Olympic Gold medalist in the same pool every day, where they naturally tried to push each other…

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Regan “off event” Smith:

W 100 FR
W 200 FR
W 200 IM

As for the traditional events in her wheelhouse:

W 100 BK – nope
W 100 FL – nope
W 200 BK – nope

Regan Smith is becoming to the W 200 IM as Katie Ledecky is to the W 400 IM.

Swimfan
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
29 days ago

More better comparison to coughlin when she decided to race the 200 IM ultimately taking bronze in Beijing punching the American record holder hoff off the podium

Eli
1 month ago

There is a chance that if all goes well, USA wins the 4×100 Free Relay.

USA 4×100 Free Relay: 3:29.98
Torri Huske: 52.92
Claire Curzan: 52.71
Abbey Weitzeil: 52.49
Simone Manuel: 51.86

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Eli
1 month ago

USA can’t even beat Canada in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay (2021, 2022).

Abbey Weitzeil’s best split in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay is 52.56 from the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Troyy
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Canada just lost Sanchez and Weitzeil’s best split is 52.49 from Tokyo.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Canada has Rebecca Smith, the same Rebecca Smith who outsplit every American in the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay at the 2022 Short Course World Championships.

Troyy
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Smith’s 100 isn’t fast enough to be helpful in the 4×100. They’ll need to use McIntosh.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
30 days ago

At least Canada has options in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay.

A 29 year old Natalie Hinds and a 25 year old Mallory Comerford are not reliable options in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay. Erika Brown choked leading off the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Every you look, disaster is around the corner.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Abbey Weitzeil’s split in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay was 52.68 at the Tokyo 2021 Oympics.

Troyy
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Check the 4×100 medley anchor. If Huske hadn’t died coming into the wall she’d have probably gone 52.3 with a better RT.

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Eli
1 month ago

That would be cool, but Manuel (if she makes it) probably won’t be a 51.8 split. Also Weitzeil will most likely be mid 52’s, and Huske/Curzan could be 52’s. I’d say Huske 52.7, Weitzeil 52.6, Curzan 52.6, Manuel 52.2.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Sherry Smit
1 month ago

It’s a BIG if whether Manuel and Weitzeil can turn back the clock.

Swimfan
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
29 days ago

Dara Torres in 2008 at 42! Age is just a number in swimming!

Troyy
Reply to  Eli
1 month ago

That’d be a formidable relay but I would think it’ll take longer for Manuel to get back to splitting 51s. For comparison Australia with just splits from this year:

Shayna Jack: 52.60
Madison Wilson: 52.25
Mollie O’Callaghan: 52.03
Emma McKeon: 51.88

3:28.76

It’s very unlikely this would happen though because always at least one leg is a bit off.

Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Setting a personal best relay split for a 26 year old is relegated to Katie Ledecky in the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay not Abbey Weitzeil in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay. Reference the 2016 Summer Olympics for further details on the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay results.

Troyy
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Heemskerk did her fastest relay split at 33. Madi Wilson at 28. Emma McKeon at 27. There’s no reason Weitzeil can’t improve at her age.

Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Heemskerk did not burn out unlike SImone Manuel (OTS).

Besides, none of MacNeil, Oleksiak, Ruck, Smith are over the age of 22.

Swammer
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Emma McKeon had the best year of her entire career at 27

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

Meanwhile, Abbey Weitzeil did not even qualify for the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in the women’s 50 meter freestyle or the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

Swimfan
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
30 days ago

And also she did not qualify for the 2017 world championships either but bounce back for 2019 and the 2021 olympics

dscott
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

And I don’t know when they may choose to surface again, but to my understanding the three members of the Aussie WR group aside from McKeon have not yet retired — Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell and Meg Harris.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

Forget Australia, try to beat Canada in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay for a change (2021, 2022).

dscott
Reply to  Eli
1 month ago

First Australia would have to go slower than their WR of 3:29.69.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

USA could not even beat Australia in the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay at the 2022 Short Course World Swimming Championships even without the Campbell sisters.

Swimfan
Reply to  Eli
29 days ago

Let’s not forget comerford and Walsh both split 52.6 and 53.1 in 2019

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Let’s hope Simone Manuel has at least made significant strides in the women’s 50 meter freestyle.

Last edited 1 month ago by Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Breezeway
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
1 month ago

Didn’t she win trials in the 50 about 1.5 yrs ago? How about, let’s hope everyone else has made strides in the 50 and start pushing for some podium finishes

Yozhik
1 month ago

Interesting that despite the names of Manuel and Oleksiak are in the title of this article there is no discussion about those swimmers in comment section. Looks like the Swimswam and its readers are not on the same page with expectations about swimming veterans.
Surprisingly there are so much talks about Sims. This swimmer is a very good addition to the USA team but there is nothing about her that predicts a break through to the elite level in any multiple events she is good at.
Claire Weinstein, the youngest member of record setting 800FR relay that is who should draw the most attention. She is indeed was very young then, just 15 years old. Any predictions about… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Yozhik
Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

You’re just like the Aussie color commentator at the 2022 Short Course World Swimming Championships, dissing the Americans every step of the way.

Troyy
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

It’s gonna be interesting to see both Manuel and C1 return to swimming this year after lengthy breaks. You’d have to think Manuel will be targetting a spot on the worlds team if she’s back swimming pro swim series meets but who knows when C1 is planning to make her return.

Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
dscott
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Weinstein(DOB 3-1-07) is excellent, but Sims (DOB 5-25-05) at this stage is SUBSTANTIALLY better overall. But as much as you might not want to do so, to get the overall picture you need to look at not just LCM but at SCM and SCY also, including relay swims. Weinstein and Sims are on the same club team (LV Sandpipers), along with another young star, Katie Grimes (Budapest ’22 Silvers in 400 IM and 1500; 4th in Tokyo 800) and commonly attend the same meets making it easy to compare them.

LCM – Claire’s primary event 200 Free: PB 1:56.71(LO Budapet ’22 4×200); 400 Free: PB 4:09.39
Bella, flat start PB of 1:57.53 to make Tokyo team is a bit… Read more »

Yozhik
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

Who can withstand this avalanche of data?! I’m impressed. But you missed my point that wasn’t probably presented clearly. The fact that Sims’ progress curve looks good is obvious. How far will it go? Opinions are different and this meet next week won’t most likely give the answer to this question.
The situation with Weinstein is different and a very little predictions you can find about her. But at the age of 15 she represented USA in individual race at World Championships and as the member of relay team won gold medal with record time. It basically could be a career goal achievement for many swimmers. But where it will go further I have no clue. Therefore any of… Read more »

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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