Simone Reveals Secret to Having Good Hair at Swim Meets (Video)

Reported by Karl Ortegon.


Prelims (top 9 from morning prelims)

  1. Abbey Weitzeil 25.15
  2. Simone Manuel 25.28
  3. Lia Neal 25.29
  4. Katie McLaughlin 25.41

Abbey Weitzeil made it through to what will be a Bay Area showdown in the semifinals. Weitzeil and McLaughlin of Cal will face off against Manuel and Neal of Stanford.

Notably, McLaughlin, who has always wanted to sprint, beat out some top sprinters for a chance to race in round 2. She already went a lifetime best 54.79 in the 100 free earlier in this meet, and her 25.41 here is a best time (beating her old PR from 2013).

Semis (top 4 from night prelims)

  1. Simone Manuel 25.05
  2. Abbey Weitzeil 25.20
  3. Lia Neal 25.32
  4. Katie McLaughlin 25.58

Manuel and Weitzeil will contend for the crown in the final.

Final (top 2 from semis)

  1. Simone Manuel 24.67
  2. Abbey Weitzeil 25.64

Simone Manuel pounced for the win here, going 24.67 to finish well ahead of Weitzeil (25.64). Manuel was just off of her season best of 24.59.

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Team Australia should do a case study on Simone. She really performs well at the big-time meets, especially Olympics and Worlds. As a long time fan of US swimming, it is really nice to have Manuel and Adrian as solid relay anchors.

sane swim parent

She is just all around awesome.


totally relating to that statement – she is so refreshing – and must be inspiring so many out there . Such a class act


Simone Manual is a perfect ambassador for her sport. World class athlete and all else that she is is icing on the cake! So fun to hear her express the idea of “my hair…don’t care.” Inspiring, energizing, and no drama…love it!

Big10 Boyz

Simone always looks great and speaks volumes with her comments!

Do you ever ask the men about their hair??

She is a champion, treat her with the respect she has earned!

Hi Big10 Boyz – we interview a number of athletes on a wide range of topics. For example, this weekend alone, Coleman talked to Chase Kalisz about a cooking class, Wyatt Hodges about his chipped tooth, Ryan Murphy about asking to not have to race Katie Ledecky in practice, and Amy Bilquist and Katie McLaughlin about scooters and their favorite pizza restaurant. Coleman has asked male swimmers about their hair, their tattoos, and their facial hair. The majority of our audience is interested in learning more about the athletes than just their times. As you can see in the interview (presuming you watched it), the question served as a platform for Simone to discuss how she feels like an inspiration… Read more »


Great choice of topics – because it was not the case few years ago and we are happy to hear how they live and what they are interested in aside of swimming – or what other life aspects complements their swimming carriers . Great job guys , seriously .


Braden nailed this for the most part, but I also love the implication that the respect Simone Manuel is owed is rooted in the fact that she’s a champion and not because we should just respect people.

Also, Braden/Coleman, please please PLEASE track Lazlo Cseh down at the next big meet you guys are at and ask him about how he maintains such good hair during swim meets.


Simone specifically avoided to use words “young black swimmers” in this interview underlining that she wants to be an inspiration to anybody who could be bound by stereotype. That is great. I love her for that. I remember how in the deck interview immediately after winning Olympic Gold Medal when Simone was overwhelmingly exited and infinitely happy with her victory the reporter didn’t find any better first question than asking her if she is proud to be the first BLACK woman to win Olympic gold medal. Simone wasn’t ready for such question. She was at the moment just a happy swimmer who won the Olympic gold medal. Why people are trying to underline immediately that she isn’t like everybody else… Read more »


The question is completely appropriate especially if the goal is to diversify and grow the sport. Outside of cost and access, hair management is a big deterrent for African American parents of kids and adults who wish to swim. Managing hair that is wet plus chlorine is not easy and time consuming. So learning a process that works on black hair is helpful. Rinse, Wash, Condition repeat. It was one of the first question asked on twitter after Rio. “What’s your hair care regimen?”


Yes, but it depends WHO is asking the question. . .There are issues here.

E Gamble

A man asking about a hair? No. I cringed when I heard the question? There was a way to do this properly. Do you have any women at swimswam? It would have sounded better coming form a woman? Do you have any African American women at swimswam that interview? You should hire some of you want to talk black hair. There was a thoughtful way to do this? You could have had a well structured article in SwimSwam Magazine on how to properly take care of black hair. If I had a chance to interview Simone Manuel, I would not be asking about her hair.


I took the question to be more of an ice breaker type thing to start off the interview. It made her laugh and relax some answering a silly question. I think you guys are reading too much into this.

E Gamble

You don’t break ice with someone’s physical appearance? Simone is too much of a class act to even let on if she was offended. Just because Simone answered the question well does not mean it was appropriate. Why is it that I’ve never seen Caeleb Dressel or Lilly King get a hair question? Do you get it now?


Dressel gets tattoo questions all the time and Lilly got questioned on her fair complexion and her sunburn at this meet. So yes they do get physical appearance questions also. I still dont see how asking a swimmer about their hair care is wrong? Are you saying this is some kind of racial thing or just a stupid question? Did you see Michael Bisping interview Colby Covington saturday night? That was epic

E Gamble

Please tell me you are not trying to compare unruly African American hair to a tattoo? Caeleb has that tattoo by choice. Simone is not choosing for her hair to look the way it does everyday. Black natural hair is naturally less oily. We are born this way. The chlorine and sun only make it worse. Therefore, WE have to wash it daily and add oil products to help prevent drying and breakage. If you follow Simone on Instagram, you would have seen this process. The only thing that this question did to our only African American female gold medalist is remind her in spite of all of her accomplishments that she’s different. And the fact that there are so… Read more »


Oh, so are you Simone’s representative, you speak for her? Or do you just speak for all people of color? Or just all women of color?

I’ve watched the video 3 times now. She didn’t seem to offended by the question. Why are you?


I learned a lot about “the hair factor” from this great op-ed after Rio –

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

Read More »

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