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Simone Manuel splashes, dashes in return to top-level swimming

Check out highlights from the women's 50m freestyle A-final, where Abbey Weitzeil beat out a field that included the returning Simone Manuel.

Simone Manuel placed third in the 50m freestyle in her first top-level swim meet since the Tokyo Olympics.

Manuel, the 2016 co-Olympic 100m free champion, clocked 25.19 seconds in the splash and dash at a Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Friday. She finished behind Olympic teammates Abbey Weitzeil (24.74) and Erika Brown (24.94) and ahead of another Olympian, Olivia Smoliga (25.33).

Manuel, 26, is back in competition after relocating last year from Stanford to Arizona State, where she now trains in coach Bob Bowman‘s group.

Manuel did not swim at last year’s international team trials, so she missed June’s world championships, marking her first absence from a major international meet since the 2012 London Olympics.

In 2021, Manuel announced at the Olympic Trials that she had been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome and dealt with depression, anxiety and insomnia that spring. She discussed that and much more in a first-person video essay for Togethxr, published in conjunction with her return to competition.

She made the team in her last event at trials, the 50m free, and was eliminated in the semifinals in Tokyo. She also earned bronze, her fifth Olympic medal, with the women’s 4x100m free relay.

Weitzeil was the top American in the 50m free at the Tokyo Olympics (eighth place). Brown was the top American in the 50m free at last year’s worlds (co-bronze medal).

The top two at nationals at the end of June are in line to make the team for July’s worlds in Japan.

Full meet results are here. The meet ends Saturday with finals at 6 p.m. ET, live on

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