Arizona State head coach Bob Bowman says that the newest addition to his sprint group, Simone Manuel, is training primarily with him, at least for the time being.
Bowman, the head coach of the collegiate program at Arizona State, says that Manuel will also make occasional visits to associate head coaches Rachel Stratton-Mills and Herbie Behm. Behm is the team’s designated ‘sprint coach.’
Manuel hasn’t raced and trained full-time since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she swam only a relay leg after winning medals in the 50 and 100 free at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Prior to the Olympics, she was diagnosed with Over-Training Syndrome (OTS).
This raised questions about Bowman’s training style and whether it was a good fit for Manuel, considering that diagnosis. On a podcast with Coleman Hodges last week, though, Bowman said that his groups only peaked at around 6,000-7,000 meters, which is far-from the highest volume program around. He did say that he’s more of a ‘short interval’ coach than a ‘race pace’ coach within that volume, though. Bowman is also famous for his lectures about the “full toolbox” when it comes to coaching. Manuel is also a very intelligent, educated, and ‘professional’ athlete, and it’s hard to believe that she would have made this decision without a long consideration about the training style she’s looking for and weighing that against what she’s getting at Arizona State (which probably included a trial period).
The Arizona State coaching staff has been a little tight-lipped about who is training with which coach, preferring to share the credit among the staff, but they have revealed on previous podcast episodes that Ryan Held trains mostly with Herbie Behm, Olivia Smoliga splits time between Bob Bowman and Rachel Stratton-Mills, and Hali Flickinger is primarily with Bowman.
Given the focus and history between Kalisz and Bowman, it tracks that he will primarily train with Bowman. It seems likely that Jay Litherland, a 400 IMer, will train with Bowman as well (alongside the 400 IM World Champion Leon Marchand).
But one of the beauties of being a pro in a collegiate training environment is the presence of a diverse staff and the ability to tweak training modules without having to pick-up-and-move to another pro group. And maybe that is what attracted Manuel to Arizona State – the staff has two coaches that have produced US Olympic medalists as a head coach (Bowman and Stratton-Mills), one of the hottest young sprint coaches in the country (Behm), and the darkhorse on the staff Derek Schmitt, who has less coaching experience than the rest, but is the brother of American swimming legend Allison Schmitt.
That is a lot of experiences and a good web for Manuel to surround herself with. We don’t yet know exactly what “Swimone 2.0,” as she has dubbed her path forward, looks like, and she might still be figuring that out too. But it feels like she has learned a lot more about what she wants and needs in swimming in the last 18 months, and with the number of ‘brains’ on deck in Tempe right now, including Manuel, if the right training exists for her on that staff, they’ll work it out.