Manuel finished 9th in tonight’s semi-final with 54.17 points. According to NBC television coverage of tonight’s US Olympic Trials, an exhausted Manuel was out of the pool for three weeks this spring. Manuel said after the race that she was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome in March and remained out of the water until April.
“Simone has had a rough time,” said television commentator Mike Tirico, noting the trials of the past year. The first black woman (of any nationality) to win Olympic gold in swimming, Manuel has been a strong advocate for racial justice over the past year. But since the United States underwent a national race calculation, Manuel was also open about the grueling toll of the past year.
When something as simple as swimming while Black becomes an experience of humiliation and a possible run-in with the law… Just sad. Exhausting… https://t.co/NLZ5JNJ52j
– Simone Manuel (@swimone) July 20, 2020
Since George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by a white policeman in Minneapolis last May, the nation had a long and often painful conversation about racial discrimination. Manuel, still one of the few black swimmers on the U.S. National Team, has often had to take a leadership role in this conversation as it unfolds in swimming.
« Simone Manuel, being one of the few – not only in America, but in the world – elite black swimmers, “Tirico said on tonight’s show,” after winning gold in Rio, she became a person who has always been questioned on this subject.
“She was exhausted,” Tirico said, also noting that due to the pandemic Manuel had not been able to return home and see his family during this already trying time.
Manuel retired from the 200 freestyle earlier this week, but qualified 6th in this morning’s 100 free heats in what appeared to be a fairly smooth 54.47. In tonight’s semi-finals, Manuel went a little faster, but his 54.17 missed the top 8 by just 0.02 seconds. With Manuel out of the final, the American 4 × 100 freestyle relay will need a lot of other less experienced swimmers to step up – Manuel has been a mainstay of this relay at world level since 2013. She is also the two-time world champion. . champion and reigning Olympic champion in the 100 individual freestyle.
She still has one entry left this week: the 50 freestyle, where she won gold at the World Championships in 2019. The rounds of this event will take place on Saturday morning.