Simone Manuel sat down for a press conference today to talk about her training leading up to trials, how she handled her redshirt year, and what motivates her at the highest level of competition in the sport of swimming.
Manuel said that she feels more experienced now in 2016 than she did in 2012, when she was just 15 swimming in Omaha. “My approach is a lot different than in 2012,” she said, noting that being on World Championship teams and working on her nerves and confidence over the last four years has really helped her as she prepares for Trials this time around.
In regards to her redshirt, Manuel admits that it was difficult not being with her teammates at Stanford as much as she usually would be, especially since she didn’t travel to away dual meets during the NCAA season in order to focus on training at home. On the other side of that, Manuel saw the heightened focus on her own practice regimen as beneficial, and enjoyed her ability to compete at multiple Arena Pro Swim Series meets to get plenty of long course racing in.
Manuel talked about the 200 free as well, noting that she’s been working on that more so in college with the Stanford program. Primarily a 50 and 100 freestyler, she says that she uses the 200 to help with her 100, and getting that endurance racing in gives her the confidence for stronger back ends in her 100 races.
This week, Manuel will contest the 50, 100, and 200 free. She’s a strong contender for individual Olympic berths in the 50 and 100, and could find herself on all three relays if she performs well enough, though the 4×100 free relay is the most solid bet for her Rio chances.