15-year-old Simone Manuel shatters Missy Franklin record to announce her arrival as next teen swimming phenom

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
Simone Manuel set a new age group record in the 50 freestyle — Getty
Simone Manuel set a new age group record in the 50 freestyle — Getty

Move over Missy Franklin, there’s a new prep swimming phenom in town.

As first noted by Swimming World Magazine, Texan Simone Manuel became the fastest 16-and-under swimmer in U.S. history to swim in the 50-meter freestyle event. She earned those plaudits on the final day of qualifying for the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials, which were held in Indianapolis.

Manuel touched the wall in 25.06 seconds, tied for the best time of the day across all age groups. Manuel was matched by Tuscon swimmer Margo Greer who swam an identical 25.06 seconds but is five years older than Manuel.

Manuel’s 25.06 time shattered the previous 16-and-under record in the event, which was held by Missy Franklin with a time of 25.26 (set in 2011). More proof of Manuel’s blazing finish time can be found by looking farther down the standings from her qualifying group: Third place was occupied by legendary Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin, who touched the wall at 25.20.

A relative newcomer among senior national team contenders, Manuel spends the school year swimming for Fort Bend (Texas) Stephen F. Austin High, where she is a one-woman wrecking crew in the pool. As noted by MaxPreps, she previously won the 50-, 100- and 200-meter free events at the NCSA Junior Nationals event which was held in Orlando, Florida.

With Manuel now due to swim in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events for Team USA at the World Championships in Barcelona this summer, she will have racked up back-to-back summers on the international circuit; she competed at the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Games, where she clocked her previous best in the 50-free with a time of 25.45.

That experience and her sudden surge up the swimming speed charts makes Manuel a prime contender to be the next, well, Missy Franklin. That’s exciting for Manuel, Franklin and anyone else who wants to see a deep, strong pool of talented swimmers for the 2016 Games in Rio.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What to Read Next