Simone Manuel Splits Fastest 50 Yard Free in History to Open Pac-12s


Stanford redshirt sophomore Simone Manuel split a 20.78 on Wednesday to anchor Stanford’s 200 medley relay to a win at the Pac-12 Championships, which leaves her alone as the fastest woman across 50 yards in history.

Records for relay splits are not officially kept, but as far as we can tell, nobody has legally gone faster than she did on Wednesday.

The old best was a 20.80 done in 2012 by Auburn legend Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace. At the time, Vanderpool-Wallace was the first woman under 21 seconds.

Last year at NCAAs, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell split 20.84 on a 200 free relay. Cal’s anchor Farida Osman split 21.09 – her best flat start time of 21.32 is identical to Manuel’s making her a threat to dip under 21 later this week on the 200 free relay as well.

In 2015, Wisconsin swimmer Ivy Martin dipped under 21 seconds as well, splitting 20.96 at the Big Ten Championships.

In This Story


  1. Ervin says:

    No lead is secure with a split like that

  2. AvidSwimFan says:

    Who else is excited for the NCAAs? I know I’m pumped.

  3. Casual says:

    No doubt!

  4. Coaches says:

    Congratulations Simone! Well done.

  5. swimmers ear says:

    K.Baker’s split on the Cal ‘B’ relay was the fastest 50 back in the field, and would’ve been enough to give
    Cal the win over Stanford on the 200 medley relay. OOOPS !!

  6. swimmers ear says:

    Actually, L.Mack from UCLA was the fastest in the field; K.Baker’s split was 2nd fastest. But K.Baker’s back split would’ve been the difference maker for the win.

    • AvidSwimFan says:

      Maybe Baker’s split would have spurned one of the Stanford’s athlete to go faster or maybe if Baker was on this relay she would have gone slower.

  7. bobo gigi says:

    Simone Manuel or Abbey Weitzeil at their peak can go much faster than that. If you can go 21 low flat-start you can go 20.40/20.50 in a relay. It’s time for a woman to break the 21-second barrier.
    NCAAs on the women’s side will be amazing. Probably the fastest women’s meet ever in yards. It can’t be otherwise with so many stars in the water.
    I’m rooting for Simone. She’s so clutch. She’s a champion in the pool. But she’s also a wonderful role model for the kids and is a superb image of American swimming.
    Go Simone!

    • bobo gigi says:

      And you have to love her after watching that video.
      The post-race moments in interview and with her Stanford coach and teammates are very moving.

    • Simone is fire says:

      She is the fastest woman in yards history!! Can’t we just be impressed by her (likely unshaved/untapered) time?? Who cares what YOU think she can go… look what she went!

      • jim says:

        yeah, i agree with both of you….the feat is amazing. Let’s marvel at that. But I’d argue that once you start going as fast as she is going, there truly is not as much of a difference between flat and relay start, especially if the swimmer is trying to be safe on that start. With wedges nowadays, the flat start is not as much of a disadvantage to the relay start as it used to be.

      • ct swim fan says:

        Great time, but I hardly think it was unshaved and untapered no matter what gets said.

        • E Gamble says:

          Yes. Because we all know that Stanford’s goal is to peak at the Pac-12 Championships. And I’m sure that the Olympic gold medalist from Rio would definitely have to be shaved and tapered in order to have a successful Pac -12 meet. Really? I bet Greg also has fully tapered Katie Ledecky. ?

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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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