Watch Manuel & Oleksiak Win Historic Women’s 100 Freestyle Final


It was a historic women’s 100m freestyle in Rio on Thursday night, as American Simone Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak tied for the gold medal. Watch the action unfold in the video linked below, then read through our analysis to try to comprehend what just happened.

Women’s 100 Freestyle Final Race Video (U.S.)

As originally reported by Mitch Bowmile:


Start List: click here
Top Seed: 52.71 – Cate Campbell – Australia
World Record: 52.06 (2016) – Cate Campbell – Australia
JR World Record: 52.72 – Penny Oleksiak – Canada
Olympic Record: 52.71 (2016) – Cate Campbell – Australia
2012 Olympic Champion: 53.00 – Ranomi Kromowidjojo – Netherlands

In one of the most unexpected results of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games both Simone Manuel of the United States and Penny Oleksiak of Canada both touched the wall in a dead heat for gold.

Cate Campbell of Australia was out fast, turning under world record pace at the 50-meter mark as the entire field turned for home tightly bunched behind her. Oleksiak turned seventh at the 50, well behind but began to charge out in front with Manuel of the United States.

Also with the front pack was Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden. With 25-meters to go Oleksiak and Manuel began to move forward as Manuel was clearly in the lead. With a huge last 15-meters, Oleksiak began to surge forward, touching the wall simultaneously with Manuel in 52.70.

Oleksiak and Manuel both broke the Olympic record, and Oleksiak broke her own world junior record and Canadian record. Oleksiak’s gold also makes her the first Canadian swimmer to ever win four medals at one Olympic Games.

Sjostrom finished third in 52.99. Campbell faded to sixth in 53.24.

1. SIMONE MANUEL – USA – 52.70


3. Sarah Sjostrom – Sweden – 52.99
4. Bronte Campbell – AUS – 53.04
5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo – Netherlands – 53.08
6. Cate Campbell – AUS – 53.24
7. Abbey Weitzeil – USA – 53.30
8. Jeanette Ottesen – Denmark – 53.36

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how am i supposed to sleep tonight?

Sane Swim Parent

I could watch that a million times and it would never get old.


With sweet dreams of what lies ahead for a 16 year old who win 4 medals and sets the Olympics record in her very 1st Games.


I still can’t believe this happened


This is horrible 🙁


How so? Are you an Aussie?


I’m not Australian, but really, Oleksiak and Manuel are not the best freestylers in the world. Nothing against them of course, congrats to them.


well, actually… they are. they have the gold medals to prove it, too. broke the olympic record to boot. sooooooo… deal with it, i guess?


you dont need to have the best time in history, you need to have the best time on the most important day.


Olympic gold doesn’t mean you are the best, it means you won the olympic games race, that’s all, like for all other tournaments.


so then who cares who wins it? shouldn’t matter if the ‘best’ came in 6th or 4th or 12th or 20th. it’s just some meet…


As it is the most fancied meet, it’s just “better” when dominant swimmers win it. I had the same feeling when Soni lost in 2012 (though I like Meilutyte who is a remarkable swimmer), Hackett in 2008 (against doped Mellouli – ok that’s maybe a bit different) or when Djokovic lose against Del Potro.


ruta proceeded to then become the most dominant 100m breaststroker till her injury… and I feel pretty excited that we are about to see a dominant penny and simone breaking through.

basically you don’t like it when your ranking board is upset… oh well. i find it to be exciting and fun.

(and also- nobody should be THAT shocked that penny and simone went 52.7’s… they’ve been very loudly approaching this level. what is actually shocking is that the aussie’s fell so flat, and thst sjojstrom didn’t come out on top after they fell)


It’s not “my” ranking board, it’s THE ranking board of 100FS during the past 4 years, confirmed by relay splits just 4 years ago and by a world record one month earlier. Surprises are fun, but when not one, not two, but the FIVE best 100 FS swimmers from last years are beaten by two outsiders who were 1.30s behind WR time before the games, I don’t enjoy watching the race.Looks like football world cup 2002.

Look back in 2004 – 200 free, : if PVDH is sick and miss the final, thorpe false starts in final, and an exhausted Phelps get only bronze behind Rick Say and Brembilla winning in 1’45.5… is it still the race of the century?

Stay Human

Cate didn’t false start like Thorpe (she obviously just went out too fast–poor decision) , and Bronte didn’t get sick and miss the final; she was only .5 worse than her PB, while Manuel was .5 better than hers- both within reasonably expected range of possibility. Sjostrom had a full day of rest, which Phelps didn’t have back then. Brembilla didn’t just get silver in another individual event at age 16 like Olesiak, and Rick Say was not on the relatively eary/upward trajectory that Manuel has been on since 2013. Poor fake analogy.


I know that C1 is not thorpe, Sjostrom is not Phelps, Oleksiak is not Say, this is not the point. The point is that like 2004 race, the crowd here was particularly talented (Oleksiak and even Manuel included), but while 2004 race has really been of good quality (despite a little bit slower than it could have been) the 2016 race has not.


Going undefeated in the regular season doesn’t mean anything unless you win the championship. Cate Campbell is the 2016 Golden State Warriors.


I cannot believe your nerve. Melllouli used adderall to study for a test and was banned…IN 2006!!! Doped?!?! After Park injected himself with testosterone you’re equating what Melllouli did as doping?! You are out of your mind. Get lost. You’re taking what the media has done this whole games and running with it. Not every swimmer who gets caught with an illegal substance is a cold blooded monstrous cheater. Someone has to come out and defend them- I’ll do it. Down with the “legit cheaters” and a tad bit of sympathy for the “not legit cheaters” there IS a difference and you all know it


The best freestyler did not perform on the day. Best should be strong physically and mentally.


Add on the biggest stage ever, the Olympics.


A single meet can’t give a reliable hierarchy for an event, it’s an illusion. Even when all competitors agree about the major importance of the meet (it’s the case in swimming but not for many other sports), the result is still submitted to an important alea, mental dispositions are part of this alea, as they do not depend only on an hypothetical “mental strength” of the athlete, but also on its environment (team, medias, private life, etc.). Some sports have taken that into account and create world rankings to have a better idea of who is the best, fencing or tennis for example. N°1 are not olympic champions so often in these sports.


In tennis we don’t look back at who is ranked higher very often. We look at who won the four majors each year and how many they win… Just like Phelps is the best because he has the most Olympic gold medals, even his World Champ medals are a lower accomplishment.
These two woman are the best. They brought their A game at the most important meet over four years. And as has been pointed out, they were faster than anyone has ever been under the unique pressure cooker that is the Olympics.
Completely awesome!


Are you seriously telling that ATP ranking is not considered as important in tennis?

Their A-game is a 52.7, come on…


And when Cilic wins US open, eveybody know that…well…it’s still just Cilic

Proud USA

It’s who performs to even get to the Olympics, and then who can perform at the Olympics! The world was shocked when “top” swimmers didn’t qualify for the Olympics. It’s a huge accomplishment to represent the USA at the Olympics, so yes, that does make them the best in the world! They performed when it counts for the Olympics!


Manuel’s swim is a statement for the future US dominance in freestyle sprinting…..hopefully more fuel is her tank and she drops more in the next olympic cycle…

This is awesome….

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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