The Omaha Olympic trials delivered a colossal dosage of Black girl magic on Sunday night as Simone Manuel, the 2016 Olympic swimming star, qualified for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Manuel was overjoyed as she won the 50-meter freestyle at the trials by 0.01 seconds. She was closely followed by Abbey Weitzeil, who qualified in second.
The win marks a huge achievement for the athlete, who, for the past few months, has battled with overtraining syndrome.
“This year has been difficult, especially the last couple months,” an emotional Manuel said following her incredible victory. “But before I dove in, I felt like it was my moment. And I’m so thankful for the blessings that God has given me.”
The swimmer was forced to stop training and rest until April 17. Last week, she failed to qualify for the 100m freestyle finals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. It was then that she revealed her diagnosis to the world/
In January, she says she began to feel something was off and that her swimming performance had been getting progressively worse. She shared that she suffered from insomnia, depression, loss of appetite and anxiety. “Just walking up the stairs to the pool, I was gassed,” Manuel said.
“I had moments where I didn’t even want to go to the pool because I knew it was going to be bad,” she said. “It was an uphill climb once I got back into the water. That was hard because I love this sport.”
She also mulled over the past year and how she has been affected as a Black person in America. “This past year for the Black community has been brutal,” she said. “I can’t say that that wasn’t something that I saw, it’s not something that I could ignore. and it was just another factor that can influence you, mentally in a draining way.”