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A CIF Section medalist and Futures Championships qualifier, CJ Manuel of Brawley, California has announced his decision to swim Division 1 at in-state California State University, Bakersfield this fall. Manuel swims with Brawley Union High School and well as for Sea to Desert Swim Association.
“I am excited to announce my commitment to continue my athletic and academic career at California State University, Bakersfield! I would like to thank God, family, friends, and coaches for their unconditional love and support. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you! Big things coming in the next 4 years at Bako🤞🏽❤️ #RunnersUp #GoBako”
Manuel has had a long road to his commitment. During the 2020 Sectionals meet, his head coach suffered a stroke, leading him to take time away from the sport. After returning, he went through multiple head coaching changes.
Last spring, Manuel was a two-event finalist at the 2022 CIF San Diego Section Championships, earning second swims in both the 50 free and 100 back. His top finish came in the 100 back where he hit a lifetime best of 51.86 to take second. He added a second personal best in the 50 free, taking fifth in 21.48.
More recently, Manuel hit multiple personal bests at a club meet last fall. In the 100 free, he touched at 47.32 while he finished the 200 free at 1:44.68.
Top SCY Times
50 free – 21.46
100 free – 47.32
200 free – 1:44.68
100 back – 51.41
200 back – 1:53.87
CSU-Bakersfield finished 6th out of eight teams at the 2023 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Swimming and Diving Championships. The program’s top performances came from Vili Sivec, with the freshman claiming gold in the 200 free and silver in the 200 fly. The program had three swimmers to the MPSF All-Conference team, with Sivec, senior Antonio Milin, and freshman Yigit Saglam all receiving the honors.
During the 2022-2023 school year, that trio dominated the men’s sprint events for the program, boasting the top-3 times in both the 50 and 100. Saglam also boasted the team’s fastest time in the 100 back, having touched at 47.58 in a dual meet against UCSD.
When Manuel arrives on campus this fall, his biggest impact will potentially come in the 200 back, and event in which his lifetime best would have led the team last season. CSU-Bakersfield didn’t have a single representative in the event at the 2023 MPSF Championships. Manuel’s lifetime best would have put him just outside of scoring range, with UCSD’s Shane Burns being the 16th fastest during prelims with a time of 1:50.15.
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