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Simone Manuel      

Olympic Sprint Freestyle Swimmer, First African-American Woman to Win Individual Olympic Gold Medal in Swimming

Simone Ashley Manuel is an American competition swimmer specializing in sprint freestyle. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won two gold and two silver medals: gold in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter medley, and silver in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In winning the 100-meter freestyle, a tie with Penny Oleksiak of Canada, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming and set an Olympic record and an American record.

Manuel holds three world records as a member of a relay team, and she is a six-time individual National Collegiate Athletic Association champion. As a Stanford University athlete, she contributed significantly to Stanford's NCAA team championship wins in women's swimming and diving in 2017 and 2018. She has also showcased commendable performance at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the World Aquatics Championships, securing multiple medals and setting records.

In 2018, Manuel announced her decision to turn pro and ended her collegiate career after that year’s NCAA Championships. The same year, she signed a sponsorship deal with TYR Sport, Inc., incorporating an inclusion rider in her contract. Manuel also serves as an ambassador for the Make A Splash organization, promoting inclusivity in swimming.

At the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, Manuel bagged seven medals, setting a record for a female's most medals won at a single world championships. She became the first female American swimmer to win both the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle events at a single FINA long course World Aquatics Championships meet. Her accomplishments at these championships include gold in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, gold in the mixed 4x100-meter medley relay, gold in the 100-meter freestyle, gold in the mixed 4x100-meter freestyle relay, and bronze in the 50-meter freestyle.

In the 2020 Summer Olympics, Manuel competed in the 4x100m freestyle relay and won a bronze medal. Despite not qualifying for the 100-meter freestyle final at the 2020 USA Swimming Olympic Trials, she ranked first in the 50-meter freestyle final and secured a spot on the US Olympic swim team for that event.

Recognized for her exceptional performance, Manuel has received several awards and honors, including being named in Forbes' 30 Under 30 in sports in 2022 and winning the Honda Sports Award for Swimming & Diving in 2017-2018. She is also a five-time Olympic medalist and a recipient of the "Female Athlete of the Year" award at the 2019 Golden Goggles Awards. Manuel's impact extends beyond her sport as she is an active advocate for diversity in swimming and provides swimming lessons to kids. She has also worked in partnership with LeBron James' Promise School in Akron, Ohio, to establish a 4-week summer swim program for students.


Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel on defying the odds: There were many hard moments
Simone Manuel made history at the 2016 Rio Olympics as the first African-American woman to win an Olympic gold in an individual swimming event. But there were many difficult moments leading up to that incredible one...
Simone Manuel Makes History: 5 Things to Know About the Olympic Medalist
Simone Manuel, nicknamed “Swimone," made history at the 2016 Olympics when she became the first Black woman to win individual gold in swimming....

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