Simone Manuel Swims 22.1 50, 48.4 100 Free in First Races Since Tokyo Olympics

by Spencer Penland 44

October 25th, 2022 News, Previews & Recaps

WISCONSIN vs ASU

Arizona State hosted a dual meet against Wisconsin over the weekend, splitting with the Badgers. Some of the ASU pro swimmers raced as well, which was notable in two cases in particular.

Firstly, Olympic champion and American Record holder Simone Manuel swam her first races since the Tokyo Olympics in summer of 2021. Manuel announced her move to Tempe in late August after a break from swimming. Last we saw Manuel competing, she helped the U.S. women’s 4×100 free relay to a bronze medal in Tokyo, anchoring in 52.96.

In her return to racing on Saturday, Manuel swam a 22.18 in the 50 free and 48.40 in the 100 free. While those times are of course off her personal bests of 21.17 and 45.56, her performances over the weekend were right in line with the majority of her dual meet swims during her collegiate career at Stanford. Given that, it seems Manuel is quickly getting back into shape following her break from swimming.

This meet also marked World Record holder Regan Smith‘s first meet as a pro. It appears Smith is adapting well to her training under coach Bob Bowman, as she was fantastic, clocking a 1:49.43 in the 200 back. That time comes in a little over two seconds off Smith’s personal best and would have Smith leading the NCAA by a wide margin this season.

Smith also swam a 51.02 in the 100 fly, marking another very solid performance. Her best in the 100 fly stands at 49.87, which she swam at the Pac-12 Championships in February of this year.

Olivia Smoliga was another ASU pro who raced, swimming a 51.94 in the 100 back. Smoliga, a two-time Olympic medalist, swam a 22.23 in 50 free as well.

Chase Kalisz, another recent addition to the pro group, clocked a lifetime best at this meet. Kalisz swam a 1:53.,83 in the 200 breast, taking nearly a second off his previous best of 1:54.62, a time which he swam back in 2016 at a dual meet. Kalisz followed that best time in the 200 breast up with a 1:42.44 in the 200 fly.

Jay Litherland also swam at the meet. He posted a 1:48.06 in the 200 fly, which marks a new personal best. Litherland also swam the 200 breast, however his time shows up as a 1:39.44, which clearly is not accurate.

Notably, none of the Arizona State pro swimmers are set to compete at the FINA World Cup or SC World Champs. Given that, it seems likely the next major meet we see the ASU pros at will be the U.S. Open in about a month.

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Ghost
1 month ago

FYI. I don’t think Georgia ever suited up for a dual meet, so comparing suited vs unsuited (against Emory)????

Ragnar
1 month ago

A physically and mentally healthy Simone is so needed for this sport. Glad she took a break to gear up for 24, as we definitely need a 52 split to fight those pesky Aussies.

Robbos
Reply to  Ragnar
1 month ago

I’m sure they (those Aussies) will be ready. McKeon, C1, MOC, Jack, Meg Harris & Maddie Wilson will all be ready.

Troyy
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Doesn’t leave much room for the juniors to break through with the whole top six capable of 52 flat start.

Robbos
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

There are 3 of them @ 54 flat at 15/16, can they improve 2 secs by Paris.
Could we see an Aussie trials final with all 8 swimmers going 52 flat or better or is that just being too greedy.

JimmySwim
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Hannah Casey is a 54.30. I think a 52 high in just under two years is very possible. Milla Jansen is a 54.36 so in a similar boat.

flicker
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

I assume that some of the top 6 might skip ’24 worlds though (probably Cate and Emma) which would give the juniors an opportunity

Ragnar
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

They’re stacked down under but I can dream

Robbos
Reply to  Ragnar
1 month ago

The US has some good young uns coming thru too Husske, Walsh & Curzan.
Looking forward to it.

JimmySwim
Reply to  Ragnar
1 month ago

Do you mean “needed for the sport” or “needed for team USA”? Those are two very different things.

A top form Manuel is a huge boon to team USA, but in terms of the sport, I don’t think it makes any difference.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 month ago

The 1:39 was Litherland’s free split at the end of an 800 IM

mahaney

what.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
Reply to  mahaney
1 month ago

Oh it does make a difference. A top form Manuel challenges for the top of the podium. That changes the medal picture in a big way.

ALEXANDER POP-OFF
Reply to  ALEXANDER POP-OFF
1 month ago

For Jimmy swim dismissing Manuel’s impact on the sport. Also her voice outside the pool is important too. No one else swimming now has that.

JimmySwim
Reply to  ALEXANDER POP-OFF
1 month ago

And why is that good for the sport? Team USA, who almost always gets the most gold medals, gets another gold medal or two. How would that impact the sport of swimming at all?

And what makes her voice more important than others? “No one else swimming now has that”. Not sure what you mean by that?

dscott
1 month ago

Minor point on Kalisz: the 200 Fly was during the first “diving break,” with the 200 Breast being his next swim, performed during the second “diving break.”

CraigH
1 month ago

Were they suited up?

swoomer
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

Im pretty sure I saw pics of them suited

Last edited 1 month ago by swoomer
dscott
Reply to  swoomer
1 month ago

If you mean they weren’t nude, yeah. But beyond that ….
They weren’t “suited” in the sense of a tech speed suit.

MCH
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

False. They were suited.

SwimGeek
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

Um – they just posted the video. Simone was definitely suited for the 100 at least

cheese
Reply to  swoomer
1 month ago

pro swimmers were suited

lunarglide 7s
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

The guys were wearing these suits: comment image

Not sure about the ladies.

bubo
1 month ago

Plot twist 1:39.44 WAS accurate

boi
Reply to  bubo
1 month ago

litherland goes on to go 201 in the 200 br next olympics and beat stubblety cook

dscott
Reply to  boi
1 month ago

Awww … This is just how rumors get started.

Love it!

CADWALLADER GANG
Reply to  boi
1 month ago

litherland got that dawg in him

dscott
1 month ago

The :51.02 100 SCY race by Regan Smith was Butterfly, NOT Backstroke.

The 1:39.44 swim by Litherland WAS Freestyle, not a mistaken time from another stroke. Your confusion may have been that he was in the same heat as the Kaliscz Breaststroke, separated by a lane or two.

None suited.

First Break
100 Free Xander Skinner :43.98 (:21.16)
Simone Manuel :48.40 (:22.98)
100 Fly Regan Smith :51.02 (:24.40)
100 Back Olivia Smoliga :51.94 (:24.87)
Anastasia Klyarovskaya :55.70 (:26.90)
200 Fly Chase Kalisz 1:42.44 (:49.18) (:23.09; :26.09; :26.50; :26.76)
Jay Litherland 1:48.06 (:52.11) (:24.48; :27.63; :27.87; :28.08)

Second Break
50 Free Xander Skinner :20.24
Simone Manuel :22.18
Olivia Smoliga :22,23
… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

Smith’s times probably most impressive. Manuel solid start she probably didn’t get too far out of shape and should be 53+ LCM if she suits up at us open.

Yozhik
Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

The point is how big this “+” will be. It can put her among leading American sprinters or she may not even make a final.
I like this kind of predictions: like watching weather channel.

Breezeway
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Not making it to these finals? Sure

Women’s 50m Freestyle
1. Torri Huske — 24.50
2. Erika Brown — 24.52
3. Gretchen Walsh — 24.53
4. Claire Curzan — 24.55
5. Kate Douglass — 24.67
6. Abbey Weitzeil — 24.75
7. Natalie Hinds — 24.97
8. Gabi Albiero — 25.22

Women’s 100m Freestyle
1. Torri Huske — 53.35
2. Claire Curzan — 53.58
3. Erika Brown — 53.59
4. Natalie Hinds — 53.65
5. Kate Douglass — 53.99
6. Mallory Comerford — 54.09
7. Abbey Weitzeil — 54.41
8. Olivia Smoliga — 54.55

Admin
Reply to  Breezeway
1 month ago

If we’re being picky, it should be the top 8 from prelims. Although in both cases that was actually a tick slower – Albiero 25.31 and Kate Douglass 54.58.

But I digress.

I keep being reminded that she’s only 26. There are no guarantees in swimming, especially for a swimmer who has had the issues with burnout as she has, but making the finals is fully within her control. The “best” of Simone 2.0 is definitely faster than 25.31 and 54.58.

She hasn’t been slower than 25.31 in a final since the 2014 Santa Clara Grand Prix (remember Grand Prixs?).

Don’t forget, even with the overtraining syndrome, she still won the 50 free at the US Olympic Trials.

Breezeway
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

A healthy Simone is challenging for the 50/100 win, period! She won the 50 with a busted transmission. The queen is back! Get your popcorn ready.

JimmySwim
Reply to  Breezeway
1 month ago

The fastest American 50 Free in the last 2 years was Curzan’s 24.17 and the fastest 100 was Huske’s 52.92. A healthy and fully in form Manuel should certainly be topping both of those times.

JimmySwim
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

What do you mean by she’s “only” 26? Is that considered young?

McKeon swimming best times literally 2 weeks after turning 27 was considered “suspicious” by countless commenters on here.

Admin
Reply to  JimmySwim
1 month ago

Mostly I mean that she’s been on the big international teams for so long that it seems like she should be older.

Half the final from Tokyo was over 26, so I wouldn’t call 26 “young” in women’s swimming, but I’d certainly say it’s in a range where she can still do good things.

dscott
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Enough people like the weather channel to keep it on the air.

anon
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

I know he’s not known for SC but a 139 2 free from litherland feels slow regardless of training or suit…

dscott
Reply to  anon
1 month ago

Litherland’s prior best 200 Fly was 1:48.45 in a dual meet against Emory in 2018.

As to his 200 Free, his tendencies are a bit “all over the map.” His times here very consistent with swims during his collegiate career in low pressure duals; In high pressure duals he was 1:36s and rested he swam 1:33high twice and a 1:34.04 in another season. PB 1:33.83. And remember, he had done his PB 200 Fly just 15-20 minutes earlier.

I’d disagree with anon to the extent of stating Jay “feels slow” — between the two events, with the 200 free done with no one beside him providing a “race” to motivate this all-time “RACER”… it was a pretty decent day mid-training.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  dscott
1 month ago

How’d you find these?

dscott
Reply to  Erik
1 month ago

So true.

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Aw heck yeah it’s really happening.

Glad she’s back.