SwimSwam Pulse: 40% Pick Manuel As Most Concerning Absence

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which absent NCAA star should worry their team the most:


Question: Which absent swimmer is most worrisome for their NCAA team?

About 40% of voters picked Stanford’s Olympic and world champ sprinter Simone Manuel as the most concerning NCAA swimmer MIA this fall.

Manuel is a huge key to Stanford’s repeat title run, and though the rest of the Cardinal roster is historically good, their relays take massive hits without Manuel, one of the most clutch swimmers in the world and the winner of the last two major international gold medals in the 100 meter free.

Stanford says she’s out with a “mild injury,” but there’s no word on when she’ll be able to return. She is not entered in this weekend’s Art Adamson Invite, meaning her return date is probably no earlier than mid-January, Stanford’s next official meet.

Unsurprisingly, the four Olympians on this list topped all vote-getters. That’s a testament to both their high level of swimming and their name recognition within the community.

Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge eked out the second spot by a single vote over Georgia’s Gunnar BentzWhile Bentz is maybe likely to score more individual points, Runge is perhaps more concerning because we haven’t been given a reason for her absence. Bentz is out with a broken collarbone.

South Carolina’s Brandonn Almeida hasn’t yet competed. He’s a potential All-American from Brazil, and probably counts as the difference between South Carolina finishing inside the top 15 or fighting for a top 25 spot.

Courtney Caldwell hasn’t competed for NC State, and we haven’t yet been told why. She got about 4% of the vote. She’s still on her team’s roster – not the case with Maddy Banicwho had a medical scare at NCAAs last year and is not listed on the Volunteer roster this year. Our request for comment has not yet received a response.

Megan Moroney of Virginia got the least amount of votes. Maybe that’s a product of her being ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for many voters. Moroney was out all of last season (with the exception of a single December race) and hasn’t yet competed this year either.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters who captain Lenny Krayzelburg should select with the #1 overall pick in this weekend’s SwimSquads Draft.

Who should be the top pick in the 2018 SwimSquad Draft?

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5 years ago

Stanford losing Manuel is like the 1992 Dream Team losing Magic. Yes Magic was their best point guard, but they were going to win regardless of if Magic played.

Manuel is extremely valuable but Stanford won’t drop down as much in the team rankings without her because of their depth.

Runge and Bentz are probably harder for UW and UGA to replace than it is for Stanford to replace Manuel.

Reply to  ArtVanDelegh10
5 years ago

Texas A&M looks like the deeper team at Art Adamson day 1 today…. winning 4 of 5 events on day 1 including both relays…. And 3 of top 4 spots in 400 Medley relay. That’s depth.

ex quaker
Reply to  OldArmy
5 years ago

True, but Stanford’s 7th fastest 500 swimmer went 4:45. It’s not like that isn’t depth.

Ex Quaker
5 years ago

In terms of team placing, I still say Gunnar or Almeida.

5 years ago

Not sure why Manel’s absence is a concern for Stanford….they win NCAA’s in a cakewalk with our without her.
On the other hand, UGA without Bentz will be lucky to finish in top 10.

Reply to  gator
5 years ago

I think this comment is 100% true. It is definitely not fake news.

Reply to  gator
5 years ago

gator i approve this message
#realnews #truefact

tea rex
Reply to  gator
5 years ago

I think Manuel will be back and ready to rock in 4 months, but because of the way NCAAs are scored, Manuel is the most important swimmer in the NCAA (more than Ledecky, Baker, Eastin, or King). If you lose your best sprinter, you have to replace her with your 5th best sprinter on the free relays – combined with individual points, that could easily cost Stanford 75 points.

Again, I am not worried about Manuel – better to take it easy now.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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