Stanford sophomore swimmer Simone Manuel will redshirt the 2015-16 season, as announced Thursday by women's swimming head coach Greg Meehan.
A seven-time All-American and four-time national champion as a freshman, Manuel is in the process of training for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A native of Sugar Land, Texas, Manuel will continue to attend classes and participate in team training and activities.
"After careful thought and discussion with my coaches, I have decided to redshirt and shift my focus to long-course training and competition for the upcoming year," said Manuel, who was also named a Scholar All-America first team selection last season. "I am still training with Stanford University and will continue my journey academically. I am fortunate and grateful to be a part of the Stanford family, as we share and support each other on our journeys."
"This is a great decision for Simone," said Meehan, who guided Stanford to a third-place finish at NCAA Championships in 2015. "Continuing her academics, training and social life here at Stanford allows for consistency over the next eight-plus months leading up to the Olympic Trials. Simone will still benefit from training in the team environment and our program will certainly benefit from her presence. Our lineup looks slightly different without Simone and sophomore All-American diver Kassidy Cook (also redshirting the 2015-16 season), but I'm excited about the opportunities for our team. So far, I've been really impressed with how they are taking advantage of these opportunities."
World recordholder Katie Leckey earlier announced that she has deferred her freshman year at Stanford to also concentrate on the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.
Manuel's success as a freshman resulted in both national and conference honors. In addition to capturing NCAA titles in the 50 free, 100 free, 400 free relay and 400 medley relay, Manuel was also tabbed the 2015 Pac-12 Swimming Freshman/Newcomer of the Year and crowned a three-time Pac-12 champion. As a rookie, Manuel established school records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Manuel was also part of the historic 100 free race at NCAA Championships that saw African-American swimmers claim the top three spots for the first time, as Cardinal teammate Lia Neal finished second while Florida's Natalie Hinds placed third. Manuel, who has emerged as a role model in the swimming community and joined Neal as a guest on MSNBC's NewsNation to talk about her historic accomplishment, was also announced as a swimming and diving finalist for the Honda Sports Award, presented annually by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) to the top female student-athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports while signifying "the best of the best in collegiate athletics."
After winning the 50-yard freestyle in a school-record time of 21.31 for her first national title at the NCAA Championships, Manuel recorded the sport's fastest 100-yard split of 45.45 in the final leg of Stanford's record-setting 400-yard medley relay. Manuel entered the water more than two seconds after Virginia's Ellen Thomas, but caught up to win by .01 while also holding off California's Missy Franklin. Stanford's relay squad clocked in at 3:26.41, an NCAA and American record.