Farida Osman is an Egyptian swimmer born on Jan. 18, 1995. Although raised in Cairo, Egypt Osman was born in Indianapolis, Ind. She has represented Egypt on the international platform, and has performed gold-medal swims. Standing 5’8″ Osman specializes in the sprint butterfly and freestyle events. Born to dentist parents, Randa Elsalawy and Hisham Osman, both attended IUPUI in Indianapolis. She started her swimming career at the age of five alongside her brother, Ahmed, and she made her first Egyptian Olympic team by the age of 17. She was initially told she had been put on a waiting list, but just days before the 2012 Olympic Games she received her invitation. Osman is seen as a symbol of hope to media outlets not only for the low representation of Arab women that compete in the Olympics, but because in the entire history of the Olympic Games only five African women have won a medal in swimming. In the 2013 recruiting class Osman was the no. 12 overall, and was apart of a Cal recruiting class that was compromised of four of the top 12 recruits.
As a freshman Osman made an immediate impact on the Cal squad. After a successful Pac 12 meet, she qualified for the 2014 NCAA Championships. She made the ‘A’ final in the 100 butterfly, placing eighth, and she earned NCAA All-America honors. Osman also was the anchor leg on both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays that finished second and third. She earned the team’s “Most Improved” award.
Osman was a member of the 2015 Pac 12 Championship Team that won their second-straight conference title. She anchored the winning 200 medley relay that broke the meet record, she won the 50 freestyle earning an NCAA ‘A’ cut, won gold by anchoring the 200 freestyle relay, she quadrupled her wins by taking gold in the 100 butterfly in an NCAA ‘A’ cut, she swam the butterfly leg on the runner-up 400 medley relay, finished third in the 100 freestyle, and anchored the second-place 400 freestyle relay.
Osman is the African and Egyptian record holder in the 50m freestyle. She’s also the Egyptian record holder in the 100m freestyle and butterfly. Her best event might be the 50 butterfly, an event that she won at the 2011 FINA World Junior Championships. Not only did she break the meet record there, but she was the first Egyptian woman to win a gold medal at the meet.
FINA World Championships
Osman competed at the 2011 FINA World Championships. She swam her typical sprint events, including the 50m backstroke, and her best finish came in the 50m butterfly in 33rd. Just before coming to Cal for her first semester, she had a successful meet at the 2013 FINA World Championships. She finished 7th in the 50m butterfly, setting an African record, and she also finished 24th in the 100m butterfly and 40th in the 100m freestyle.
2012 London Olympics
Osman is also an Olympian, and looking for her second Olympic birth in 2016 – she represented Egypt at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After qualifying in the 50m freestyle, she came to a 41st-place finish at the Games.
2016 Rio Olympics
Osman got her second Olympic berth as she competed for Egypt in Rio De Janeiro. Osman competed in 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. She placed 18th in the 50 freestyle and made the semi-finals in the 100 butterfly where she finished 5th in her heat and 12th overall with a time of 58.26. That time was also a new African Record.
2016-2017 NCAA Championships
Osman had an impressive senior season at Cal as she won her first NCAA title in the 100 butterfly setting a new pool record with a time of 50.05. Her swim was the 7th fastest time in history. The top six times belong to Kelsi Dahlia and Natalie Coughlin. Osman also finished fourth in the 50 freestyle just missing the third place by 0.09 seconds. On the last day, Osman competed in the 100 freestyle where she sprinted to a fifth place finish with a time of 47.07.
Osman was also a big part of the Bears’ relays throughout the meet. Cal finished on top of the podium in the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays. Osman had the fastest 50 freestyle split out of the whole field as she anchored Cal’s 200 freestyle relay in 20.91.
2017 FINA World Championships
Osman represented Egypt in the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Osman annihilated her African record three times in the 50 butterfly and she managed to snag bronze in 25.39 behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (24.60), who won gold, and the Netherlands Ranomi Kromowidjojo (25.38) who won silver. This was a historic moment for Egypt as it was the first ever medal an Egyptian has won in the World Championships.
Osman also managed to qualify for the semi-finals in 50 freestyle with a new African Record time of 24.78. Later that day, she finished ninth bettering her prelims time by 0.16 seconds. She missed the eighth place by only 0.03 seconds. This was not her only close call as she finished 17th in the 100 butterfly.
Following a successful year, Osman was named the African female swimmer of the year presented by Tyr. This was her 4th time she had won the honor.