Simone Manuel Splits the Fastest-Ever 100 Free to Anchor Stanford’s Record-Breaking Relay



In arguably the most exciting finish of the night, Simone Manuel faced a 2.23 second deficit to an elite Virginia squad at the end of the 400 medley relay, with Missy Franklin of Cal breathing down her neck. After only making up just tenths on Thomas in the first 50, out 21.78 to Thomas’ 22.15, Manuel came back in a jaw-dropping 23.67 to Thomas’ 25.54 for a split of 45.45 as Stanford won it by a hundredth of a second to set new American, U.S. Open, and NCAA records.

This is the fastest split done, ever, after Manuel threw down a 45.81 anchor leg at the Art Adamson Invite earlier in the season. High school star Abbey Weitzeil smashed a 45.82 at the Speedo Winter Jr National meet in December, with both getting under World Championships relay hero Megan Romano‘s previous fastest split ever (46.07). Manuel got under that old time first, but it’s still amazing that the two fastest relay splits ever in the 100 free belong to two swimmers that haven’t turned 19 yet.

Not to be forgotten was Franklin, who also got under 46 seconds on the end of the Golden Bear relay. She split a 45.98 to solidify 3rd place for Cal.


Swimmer Split
Simone Manuel 45.45
Abbey Weitzeil 45.82
Missy Franklin 45.98
Megan Romano 46.07

The new top four on this list is looking like it could be a pretty darn solid quartet for the future of the United States 400 free relay. Franklin and Manuel each have plenty more opportunities for record breaking, with two more full days of NCAA competition to be had.

In This Story


  1. SamH says:

    The 400m free relay should ve very exciting this summer indeed. They might even be able to give Australia a run for their money. Manuel will most likely be able to go a 52 with the amount she has improved. That also being an american record.

    Missy Franklin has made us all forget about those back spasms and put to rest an doubts they will effect her dominance in the support (in the long run). I am going to guess she will be able to split 52 as an anchor or what not.

    Abbey Weitzel is harder to gauge as I do not think we have seen her swim long course yet this season. I think she was like 54 low in her 100 this passed summer, which is very solid. She could probably go split 53 low, maybe 52.

    Megan Romano, didn’t she have a really off summer? (Along with the rest of American top tier swimmers.) If she does not make a comeback, then Lia Neal? Shannon Vreeland? Natalie Coughlin? Any others that should be mentioned?

    • TheTroubleWithX says:

      I’m not sure about this summer, but Katie Ledecky will end up on this relay eventually. I’m betting she’ll be 53.5 by Rio, if not earlier.

  2. aswimfan says:

    Missy Franklin already split 52 in 2011 Shanghai as a 15 yo.

  3. liquid4TheBears says:

    Schmitty, Romano, Coughlin and even Weir all coming back swimming well in recent weeks SCY, all have early LCM 54’s/55’s so far in 2015, let’s see if they can keep the momentum going for the summer, BUT: none of them made the team for Kazan, so it’s moot for that relay.

    Geer did make it, however, and already went 54.2 at the BHP in Perth in January, made world top 10, so far so good, she could be heading for sub 54, though she’s a bit inconsistent in LCM. Vreeland’s got a 54 high so far. Ledecky’s already got a 54.55 from Austin in January, could be heading for sub-54, though they probably wouldn’t need her unless Vreeland or Weitzel fails to drop their LCM time and/or Geer not looking good at that point.

    • SamH says:

      Man I cannot believe I forgot Ledecky. Although she is a little further away from the others right now, not impossible for her to swim prelims relay at worlds and maybe make it to the finals. We have definitely seen her improve her sprinting this past year with a 22 high 50 and a 48 mid 100. I think she wants to be on the relay and it is pretty hard to stop Ledecky when she is determined.

      • bobo gigi says:

        The best American team for Rio will be in my opinion:
        – Simone Manuel to lead-off
        – then Lia Neal
        – then Abbey Weitzeil
        – and Missy Franklin to anchor

        And if Abbey is at a 53 low level next year, put her in first position to allow Simone to anchor and catch the Australians for gold. 🙂

        • bobo gigi says:

          Add Natalie Coughlin and Margo Geer or Shannon Vreeland or a resurgent Megan Romano as substitutes and you have a pretty cool roster.

        • TheTroubleWithX says:

          If Ledecky isn’t on the 4×100 team in Rio, I’ll eat my speedo.

          (That’s not a literal promise; that’d be disgusting. More like the kind of promise politicians make when running for elected office, the kind that no one really expects them to keep).

  4. liquid4TheBears says:

    I just realized that after London 2012 I thought of Ledecky as a limited 800/1500 specialist who would drop down to the 400 sometimes, and now 2 1/2 years later, she could be looking at at least 3 golds and contending for another 3 medals, counting relays, this summer!

    • bobo gigi says:

      Liquid, to beat the Australians, the US team needs 4 great sprinters. I’m a huge Katie Ledecky fan since 2011 well before the world knows her name but I don’t see what she could bring to that relay. She will have enough work in the other events.

  5. DDias says:

    Manuel time is really,really impressive.But let s calm down a bit(about chasing Australia).Unfortunately, a full second improving in yards dont translate equally to LCM.In other side, a rivalry between Manuel and Weitzeil will be benefical to both.It will give the boost like Campbell sisters have, and that can give the boost to power US relay team to uncharted waters.

  6. bobo gigi says:


  7. bobo gigi says:


    500 free NCAA record by Leah Smith at 1h09 in the video

  8. bobo gigi says:


    4X50 free relay A-Final at 3 minutes in the video
    500 free A-Final at 22 minutes
    200 IM A-Final at 40 minutes
    50 free A-Final at 55 minutes
    Then diving
    And the stunning 4X100 medley relay A-Final at 1h50

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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