Olympic swimming champion, Simone Manuel soars into the record books again. During this year’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, Manuel completely demolished every single record in the 100 freestyle and became the first woman to swim the event in less than 46 seconds. She also swam the 50 freestyle in a record breaking time of 21.17.
On top of setting individual records, Manuel and her teammates of the Stanford Cardinals, Katie Ledecky, Janet Hu, and Lia Neal set an American and NCAA record in the 400 freestyle. Manuel, Ledecky, Neal and Ella Eastin also set a NCCA record in the 800 freestyle. The ladies finished the events in 3:07.61 and 6:49.42 respectively. Their strong finish led the Stanford Cardinals to its first NCAA women’s swimming and diving title since 1998.
This isn’t the first time that Manuel has made history in the pool, and it will surely not be her last. In 2015, Manuel, her teammate Neal, and University of Florida’s Natalie Hinds became the first African Americans to place in the top three spots in the 100 free at the NCAA Swim Championships. Then a year later, at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Manuel became the first African American woman to win an individual Olympic medal in swimming. Manuel won a total of two gold and two silver medals at the games.
“I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it’s not ‘Simone, the black swimmer’. The title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I’m not supposed to be able to break records and that’s not true because I work just as hard as anybody else. I want to win just like everybody else.”
Congratulations, Simone! Thank you for using your platform to inspire and empower present and future African American swimmers.