Recent high school graduate Simone Manuel beat Missy Franklin during a swimming competition at the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara on Friday and that's great news for Stanford fans.
Manuel, who became the first Under-18 swimmer to break the 25-second mark in the 50 free at last year's FINA world championships, joins an already world-class group of sprinters.
Senior Maddy Schaefer shares the school record for the 50 free (21.78 short course) and sophomore Lia Neal is ranked fourth (21.98). Neal holds the Cardinal record (47.17) for the 100 free, while Schaefer ranks fifth (47.75). Manuel holds the American record in the 100-yard free of 46.83.
Manuel went 54.44, edging Franklin by .07 seconds, to win the 100-meter free at the George Haines International Swim Center.
"I felt pretty good," Manuel said. "I wanted to go out fast and keep my stroke long. I know Missy is a back halver so I tried to stay in the middle of the lane."
Schaefer finished eighth in the same race, swimming a 55.74.
"She's incredible," Schaefer said of Manuel. "She's super nice, works hard and will bring energy to the team, especially the sprinters. I know she will help me and Lea and the other sprinters get better."
Manuel, who is from Texas, said she was impressed with the team when meeting them on her official visit.
"It's such a strong tradition," she said. "Maddy and all the swimmers have a lot to give. It will be great competition."
Manuel's goal is to qualify for the Pan Pacific Championships, which leads to international meets and into the U.S. Olympic Trials.
"I'm going to just compete, same as now," Manuel said. "I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. I want to have fun and do the best I can."
Recent Stanford grad Felicia Lee also got into the swing of things, winning the 100 fly in 59.62.
Cardinal grad Maya DiRado, one of the school's best-ever individual medley swimmers, finished 14th overall in 1:00.90. Even competing was a triumph for DiRado, who has been sick.
Stanford grads B.J. Johnson and Eugene Godsoe highlighted men's action at the Grand Prix. Johnson finished third in the 200 breast with a 2:15.47 and Godsoe was third in the 100 free with a 53.11.
Stanford's Bobby Bollier also swam in the final of the 100, finishing eighth in 53.82. Cardinal grad Jason Dunford won the 'B' final in 53.77, which would have been good enough for eighth in the 'A' final.
Stanford's David Nolan was 12th overall in 54.38, Cardinal grad Geoff Cheah, who is working out with Club Wolverine, was 13th in 54.82.
Palo Alto grad Andrew Liang was 18th in 55.31 and Stanford's Tom Kremer, a Sacred Heart Prep grad, was 20th in 54.90.
"It's kind of right where I thought I could be," said Liang, who will join Kremer at Stanford this fall. "I was still a little disappointed."
Liang will miss the U.S. nationals for a little vacation time with his family but will compete at the junior nationals the week before.
Liang, who was competing in his first Grand Prix, said it was still a tough choice between Harvard, Princeton and Stanford.
"They all had their good points but in the end Stanford won out and I am happy with the decision," Liang said. "It's the next step in my career and I'm excited to see what happens."
Stanford's Max Williamson was 16th overall in the 200 breast with a 2:18.68 while Palo Alto Stanford Aquatic's Brandon Fischer was 19th in 2:19.57.
The PASA women's 400 free relay team of future Stanford freshman Ally Howe, former Texas All-American Karlee Bispo, Leah Goldman and Jennifer Campbell finished fourth overall in a time of 3:50.05. Howe, a Sacred Heart Prep grad, went out in 57.46.
Gunn grad Rachael Acker helped the California Aquatics B team finish third in 3:47.88. Acker swam the second leg in 56.55 and helped keep Cal in second at the time.
The second PASA relay team of Carly Reid, Sarah Kaunitz, Lisa Kaunitz and Marie-Pierre Delisle, was 14th in 3:57.42.
Liang and Johnson swam the first two legs of the PASA men's 400 free relay team that finished fifth in 3:29.97. Incoming Stanford freshman Curtis Ogren and Albert Gwo also swam.
Bispo and Lee were 1-2 in the women's 100 free 'B' final. Bispo, a native of Modesto, went 55.77 to Lee's 55.87. Stanford's Julia Anderson was 22nd, with Neal 28th and Acker 29th.
In the women's 200 breast, Stanford's Sarah Haase swam 2:33.53 to finish 15th. In the 400 free, DiRado won the 'B' final in 4:13.52 and Anderson was 20th in 4:17.72.
As part of USA Swimming's partnership with Arena, the Arena Grand Prix Series offers swimmers the opportunity to take home prize money for top finishes in all individual Olympic-distance events. In total, $150,000 in prize money is available to be distributed over the course of the six-meet series.
At each meet, $500 will be awarded for a first-place finish, $300 for second and $100 for third in all individual events. Arena is serving as the title sponsor for the Arena Grand Prix Series for the second straight season.
The meet continues through Sunday, with preliminaries at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.
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