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Simone Manuel Comes Out On Top Of Star-Studded 100 Free Field In Santa Clara

By Paul D. Bowker | June 09, 2018, 10:36 p.m. (ET)

Simone Manuel looks on following the women's 4x100-meter medley at the 2017 FINA World Championships on July 30, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.


This time there was no tie.

Four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel, who tied Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for gold in the women’s 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, blew past a stacked field Saturday in Santa Clara, California.

In a final that featured nine swimmers with a combined 18 Olympic medals, Manuel won the race in 53.85 seconds, beating out two-time Olympian Lia Neal and Oleksiak. Manuel won by two-tenths of a second.

“It means a lot. We have a lot of amazing swimmers so you have to be on your ‘A-game,’” Manuel said on the Olympic Channel broadcast.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy somehow made it to the touchpad first in the men’s 100 backstroke. The top three swimmers all finished within a second of each other. Murphy won it in 53.26 seconds, just ahead of Japan’s Ryosuke Irie, who trains in the U.S., and U.S. Olympian Jacob Pebley.

“These meets are totally stacked,” Murphy said. “It’s great getting in with these guys, competing every meet.”

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Chase Kalisz extended his unbeaten streak at the Pro Swim Series with a pair of wins, including the final race of the night when he topped world-record holder Ryan Lochte in the 200 IM. Earlier in the evening he won the 200 butterfly. Kalisz also won the 400 IM Friday.

Katie Ledecky, who won the women’s 200 freestyle on Friday, scored her second win of the meet in the 800 freestyle. She also placed fifth in the 100 free.

Sixteen-year-old Regan Smith defeated reigning world champion Kylie Masse of Canada in the women’s 100 backstroke by 0.01. Smith, who also won the 200 backstroke Friday, won Saturday’s race with a time of 59.75 seconds.

Lilly King put down the year’s fastest time in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.61. A Russian swimmer had beat her previous world’s best time earlier Saturday, so King grabbed it back in Santa Clara for her second win of the weekend.

“Of course I knew,” King said with a chuckle following the race.

Other winners Saturday included Melanie Margalis in the women’s 200 IM, Katie McLaughlin in the women’s 200 fly, Andrew Wilson in the men’s 100 breaststroke and Caeleb Dressel in the men’s 100 freestyle. Zane Grothe, who won the men’s 1,500 freestyle on Wednesday, added a win in the men’s 800 on Saturday.

The Santa Clara meet finishes up Sunday. The finals begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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