7 Things You Need to Know About Simone Manuel


Photo Credit: Victoria Baldor/Achona Online

If she weren’t a swimmer, she’d be a singer or a dancer

The Olympian Simone Manuel has won a gold medal, but unlike the rest, hers marks history of the first African-American to ever win a gold in swimming. Her time of 52.70 seconds in the women’s 100-meter freestyle tied for the gold and set an Olympic record.
Before the Rio Games are over here are five things to know about Simone Manuel:

1. She started swimming at the age of 4- Simone’s parents signed their children up for lessons to be “water safe” not knowing that an Olympic Athlete would be born from it.

2. She comes from a Family of Competitive Athletes- The Manuel family, including their mother and father are all competitive athletes. Simone admits she learned her competitiveness from her brothers Chris and Ryan, who both played basketball in their home state Texas.


3. Her nickname is “Swimone”- A fellow swimmer’s mom nicknamed her Swimone when she was young and could not have been more fitting.


4. She swims at the #1 school for swimming- Stanford University is as good as it gets when it comes to swimming programs and Simone works alongside Lia Neal, a swimmer of African descent, who made headlines for winning a bronze medal in the 2012 London Games.


5. Simone broke the NCAA record her first year- Manuel shattered the previous record by nearly an entire second with a time of 44.62.


6. It’s the first time that two African Americans have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team- Lia Neal and Manuel made history in more ways than one.


7. Her Name Will Inspire Others – Simone’s gold will inspire other minorities to join the sport and could potentially affect the diversity of the sport as a whole. When Phelps started swimming in the olympics the sport was about 37 percent male, but today male representation of the 400,000 member organization is 44 percent. There’s no doubt that Manuel’s recent gold will shape the swimming world just as Phelps did. The benefits of Manuel’s gold might not be seen for another few years, but it will certainly inspire others to join the sport who otherwise would have not. Others see her hard work and dedication as a motivation to them to strive for improvement and inspiration in the swimming world.