AUSTIN, Texas – Anyone unfamiliar with the name Simone Manuel might want to start paying attention, right now.
Last summer, this 17-year-old up-and-comer from Sugar Land Texas competed in her first major international meet, the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona. She came home with a gold medal as a member of the United States’ 400m free relay, and finished seventh in the 50m freestyle, turning in the fastest time in that event among American women in 2013.
Then last month at the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool in Glasgow, Scotland, she anchored the Americans’ 200m mixed medley relay, carrying the U.S. to victory over the European All-Stars.
Manuel added to her increasingly impressive resume Friday at the Arena Grand Prix at Austin, pulling ahead of the rest of the field in the last 25 meters of the women’s 100m free for the win in 54.38. Olympian Allison Schmitt finished about a half second behind in 54.86, while U.S. National Teamer Megan Romano and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas tied for third in 54.94.
Manuel was one of several U.S. National teamers to take gold Friday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Aquatic Center.
Olympian Nathan Adrian overpowered the field from the start of the men’s 100m free, touching first in 48.26, followed by Yannick Agnel of France in 49.31 and U.S. Olympic teammate Conor Dwyer in 49.39.
“I think that was a good race,” Adrian said. “It’s a good start to the long course season. You see what you did right, see what you did wrong, and you see what moves you need to make going into the competitive summer season.”
In the women’s 400m free, Olympian Katie Ledecky continued to dominate her competition, touching in 4:04.46, about five seconds ahead of runner-up Lotte Friis of Denmark, who finished in 4:09.35. Olympian Chloe Sutton was third in 4:12.11.
“It’s a little different than it used to be, not going for best times,” Ledecky said. “Now I’m just getting up and racing and finding ways to improve, working on little things like race strategy, saving my legs, those kinds of things.”
The women’s 200m breaststroke came down to a two-person race between Olympian Micah Lawrence and National Teamer Laura Sogar, with Lawrence coming out on top, 2:25.73 to 2:26.14. Rachel Nicol of Southern Methodist was third in 2:28.09.
National Teamers Tom Shields and Eugene Godsoe went 1-2 in the men’s 100m fly, turning in times of 52.72 and 53.69. Jason Dunford of Kenya was third in 53.73.
International swimmers dominated the other races, with Ross Murdoch of Great Britain winning the men’s 200m breaststroke (2:12.15), Agnel winning the men’s 400m free (3:49.78) and Noemie Thomas of Canada winning the women’s 100m fly in 58.54.
The Arena Grand Prix at Austin continues Saturday with the men’s and women’s 400m IM, 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke and 50m freestyle. Timed finals of the men’s and women’s 80m free relay will also be contested.
The meet will be broadcast on Universal Sports on Friday and Saturday. Check your local listings for times.
For more information about the meet, including the live webcast and complete results, go to www.usaswimming.org/austingrandprix.