Simone Ashley Manuel is an American competition swimmer specializing in sprint freestyle. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won two gold and two silver medals: gold in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley, and silver in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In winning the 100-meter freestyle, a tie with Penny Oleksiak of Canada, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming and set an Olympic record and an American record.
Manuel also holds three world records as a member of a relay team, and she is a two-time individual National Collegiate Athletic Association champion, becoming one of the first three African American women to place in the top three spots in the 100-yard freestyle event in any Division I NCAA Swimming Championship.
Manuel announced at the 2018 NCAA championships that she would not continue her collegiate career after that year’s NCAA Championships. Manuel participated in Stanford’s senior day activities in their final home meet at the Avery Aquatic Center of the 2017-2018 season.
At the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, Manuel started in the women’s 4×100 free relay, where she split 51.92 on the 4th leg to help USA get a silver medal.
Manuel was back in the pool on Day 4, anchoring the 4×100 mixed medley relay, splitting 52.37 to help Team USA get 2nd behind Australia by .02. On Day 5, Manuel raced in the 4×200 free relay, where she led off in a career best of 1:56.09 to help USA to a new American record and silver medal behind Australia. On Day 6, Manuel won her first gold of the championships, defending her world title from lane 1 to lead the race from start to finish, touching 1st in 52.04 for a new American record. On Day 7, Manuel anchored the mixed 4×100 free relay, this time getting the best of the Australian team and touching for gold and a new world record.
On the final day of competition, Manuel added to her gold in the 100 free with a crown in the 50 free, her first world title in this event. She touched for first in a time of 24.05, just .02 infront of silver medalist Sarah Sjostrom. Manuel capped her competition off with an anchor in the 4×100 medley relay, splitting a career-best 51.86 to help team USA break their own world record by over 1 second.
Simone’s 7 medals marked the record for most medals won at a single world championships by a female. At 24, Manuel is positioned to dominate the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and sees the moment as a chance to use her platform to advocate for diversity in the predominantly white sport of swimming.
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