21-year-old Lia Neal and 19-year-old Simone Manuel, both Stanford teammates and good friends, will swim for the U.S. Olympic team after competing in trials last week in Omaha, Nebraska and landing a spot on the 4×100 freestyle team. It’s the first time two Black women will compete at the same time.
Manuel came in second behind Abby Weitzell during the 4 x 100, Neal came in fourth to round out the team.
Both women are used to making history, as Neal, a Brooklyn-born swimmer, won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Olympics in London. And in 2015, Neal and Manuel were two of three people of color to place in the top three spots for the 100-yard freestyle during the Women’s NCAA swimming championships. Manuel came in first, Neal came in second and swimmer Natalie Hinds came in third.
Manuel, a Houston native, is also adding the 50 meter freestyle to her list of events for the Olympics in Rio.
When speaking about her first trip to the Olympics, Manuel told NBC, “I was pretty nervous for most of my races. Just making the team in itself is a great accomplishment. Just getting to Rio, all the nerves will be gone and I think I’ll be able to swim a little bit faster.”
Congratulations to Lia and Simone! We’ll be watching.