USA Swimming’s official YouTube channel uploaded the following video earlier today. It presents an excerpt from an interview with Simone Manuel, where she speaks about the sense of responsibility she feels to make people “more aware” of the sport within the African-American community:
Manuel made history last spring when she won the NCAA Championships in the 100 freestyle. Manuel was part of the first all African-American podium in history at that meet. She lead Leah Neal and Natalie Hinds to the wall in the event.
In the video Manuel also references among others Maritza Correia. Correia was a barrier-breaker herself, having become the first African-American woman to break an American record. She also did so in sprint freestyle, swimming 21.69 in 2002. Correia was born in the United States territory of Puerto Rico
Manuel is redshirting this Olympic year for Stanford University. In addition to winning her NCAA championship, she had the fastest split on America’s bronze medal winning 4×100 freestyle relay in the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan. Her flat start time was second in the US to Missy Franklin.
Manuel also ranked in the top ten last year in the 50 freestyle. At just 19 years old, she is far from her prime and could have a long and legacy creating career.