Her Story: Simone Manuel (born August 2, 1996)
In 2016 Simone Manuel made history when she became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold metal in swimming for the United States during the Rio games and set an Olympic record (52.70) in the process. She walked away from the 2016 games with a total of four metals (2 gold, 2 silver), and since then she has continued to crush records and collect metals swimming in pools around the globe.
Manuel began swimming at age 4 when her parents enrolled her in lessons because they wanted all their children learn how to swim so that they could be safe in the water. By age 9 she began to pursue the sport competitively. At age 11, she joined Houston’s First Colony Swim Team and became an elite competitor. As a freshman at Stanford, Manuel was a four-time national champion. Over the course of her college swimming career she broke 5 Stanford records, and was 14-time NCAA Champion.
Not only has Manuel accomplished a social-changing moment in sports history, she is also a strong advocate for minority swimmers. She conducts swimming clinics around the country to encourage minorities to learn how to swim and has gathered sponsors to help promote her message.
Thank you Simone Manuel for inspiring a nation of young girls to get out there and swim!
“This medal is not just for me, it’s for a whole bunch of people who have come before me, and been an inspiration to me and it’s for all the people after me who believe they can’t do it. I want to be an inspiration to them that they can do it.” -Simone Manuel