Rio Olympics: Simone Manuel Makes History in the Pool

Rio Olympics: Simone Manuel Makes History in the Pool

[NYTIMES.COM]

RIO DE JANEIRO — Simone Manuel managed to make history and break a record, all in less than a minute.

Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming on Thursday night. She and Penny Oleksiak of Canada tied for the fastest time, an Olympic record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle: 52.70 seconds.

“I definitely think it raises some awareness and will get them inspired,” Manuel, 20, said about the significance of her accomplishment. “I mean, the gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people that came before me and inspired me to stay in the sport. For people who believe that they can’t do it, I hope I’m an inspiration to others to get out there and try swimming. You might be pretty good at it.”

Manuel is sharing a room with another record-setting American swimmer, Katie Ledecky, in the athletes’ village here.

She and Oleksiak shaved 0.01 seconds off the Olympic standard of 52.71, set earlier in the Rio Games meet by Australia’s Cate Campbell. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom won the bronze in 52.99.

The last time an American won gold in the event was 1984, when Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer also tied and shared the gold medal with a time of 55.92 seconds.

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