In a stacked race in Santa Clara this past weekend, relatively unknown swimmer Simone Manuel beat Missy Franklin in the 100-meter freestyle event.
The 17-year-old was facing a huge task with a handful of Olympic gold medalists competing in the race. Missy Franklin is the most decorated having won four gold medals at the 2012 London games.
Simone was in the lead after the turn at 50 meters and held on to it, despite a push by Missy to close out the race. Manuel out-touched the Olympian by .07 seconds, clocking in a time of 54.44 seconds. Manuel has been faster this year, achieving a person best of 54.38, ranking 20th in the world at that distance. The current US record for woman at that distance is 53.02 seconds.
There didn’t seem to be any ill will after the race had concluded as Manuel and Franklin hugged over the lane lines.
Simone Manuel swims for the First Colony Swim Team in Texas. She was sporting a snazzy Nike NG1 suit, the same model (in a different color) that she wore when she broke the American record for the 50 meter freestyle last month. The sprinting specialist showed immense maturity under pressure, apparently unphased by being in the pool with Olympians like Missy Franklin, Allison Schmidtt, and Megan Romano.
I expect hers is a name we will be hearing often.