PHOENIX, Arizona, April 1. WE just saw another record-breaking weekend in the United States, with six American records set on Friday and Saturday. Trying to pick the Performance of the Week from these six great swims is sort of liking picking the winners at the Academy Awards. Is a 100 breast record better than a 400 IM record? How does a relay record weigh against the 200 breaststroke?
Last week, I said it was tough picking Missy Franklin’s 200 freestyle as the Performance of the Week, and this one is equally difficult. Though every performance is worthy, the one that deserves the Performance of the Week most is Simone Manuel’s American record swim in the 100-yard freestyle at the NASA junior championships. Manuel, just 17 years old, actually broke the record twice in one day, but it’s the second one that warrants the attention.
In prelims, she broke Natalie Coughlin’s record of 46.84 with a 46.83. After missing the record in finals with a 47.15, she came back to lead off First Colony’s 400 free relay with an incredible 46.75. This was Manuel’s second week of going after the record. At the NCSA junior nationals in Orlando the week before, she swam a 47.00, so something positive happened in a week to get her those 25 hundredths of a second.
While it’s definitely not shocking that a 17-year-old American female is breaking American records, the swims did come as a surprise to the general swimming community, and definitely sets her up for the long course season, as well as her freshman year at Stanford.
Congratulations, Simone, you’ve won the Speedo Performance of the Week.