MESA, Arizona, April 14 – Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel took the lead from the start and won the women’s 50 meter freestyle at the Arena Pro Series event in Mesa Friday, beating Avon’s Madison Kennedy by 0.33 of a second.
Manuel, who won a gold medal in the 100 freestyle, won the race in 24.66 seconds with Kennedy posting her fastest time of the season in the 50 free with a time of 24.99 seconds. She knocked off 0.47 off her time in the preliminary round when Kennedy was ranked No. 2 among 80 swimmers.
The Arena Pro Series is a series of seven meets where swimmers can be challenged by international caliber swimmers. Athletes can earn awards for top three finishes in all individual Olympic events in the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third.
Unlike many events, the Pro Series event in Mesa is held outside under the bright Arizona sun. There was a slight breeze Friday to the backs of the 50 meter swimmers.
It was the second medal of the season the Arena Pro Series for Kennedy. She also finished third in the 50 free at the Arena Pro Series stop in Indianapolis.
Kennedy also swam in the 100 meter freestyle on Thursday, finishing ninth with a time of 55.55 seconds. She won the B final by 0.51 seconds with her fastest time of the season in the 100 freestyle.
Next up for Kennedy, 29, will be the University of Louisville’s annual TYR Derby Pro Swim meet on April 29, a competitive swim meet to raise money for charity.
Pro swimmers will race 50 meter freestyle in a preliminary, semifinal and final all within one hour. The last two finishes will be eliminated after each round with the final four racing for prize money and the honor by being the first TYR Derby champion.
Events on the horizon to keep an eye on include the Phillips 66 national championships in Indianapolis from June 27 through July 1 with the 50 freestyle schedule for the final day of the event. They will also be the trials for the U.S. team for the upcoming World Championships in Hungary on July 23-30.
Kennedy lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she trains with SwimMac Carolina’s Team Elite.