Simone Manuel swam into first place in semifinal 1 during the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil last night. The Team USA athlete entered the Games with Lia Neal, another Black swimmer. The semifinal finish followed her first heat win earlier that day.
NBC reported Manuel was No. 1 in the women’s 100-meter freestyle semifinal. She clocked in at 53.11 seconds. The Stanford University student qualified for the semifinal Wednesday afternoon in the women’s 100-meter heat. Manuel won her heat in 53.32 seconds. She came in second place behind Australia’s Cate Campbell, who clocked in at 52.78 seconds. The Sugar Land, Texas native missed Campbell’s world record by 0.54 seconds.
Manuel’s first-place position was largely passed over on-air. The network tweeted out her finish after it happened, but Black Twitter was disappointed at the lack of acknowledgment by analysts.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 11, 2016
@docjorich expressed disappointment in American commentators discussing Australia’s Bronte Campbell, who is Cate Campbell’s younger sister.
Simone Manuel just wins 100M Freestyle yet American commentators jocking Australian swimmers smh
— CrimeDocJoRich (@docjorich) August 11, 2016
Katisha Williams pointed out the Campbells’ apparent importance over Manuel, who was not interviewed after the race.
— Katisha Williams (@KatishaWilliams) August 11, 2016
Mia shared similar disappointment.
— Mia (@notwithoutcafe) August 11, 2016
Then, users decided to celebrate Manuel’s accomplishment themselves.
Annesha Sudu expressed the pride of the Black community.
— Annesha Sudu (@anneshasudu) August 11, 2016
@TheRealRamonabd also shared her love. She encouraged the swimmer to rest up for her competition tonight. Manuel will compete in the women’s 100-meter freestyle final after 10 p.m. The women’s 50-meter freestyle will follow Friday afternoon.
— LuvLaughLive (@TheRealRamonabd) August 11, 2016
Liv. remarked at Manuel smashing the stereotype of Black people not knowing how to swim.
Simone Manuel breaking stereotypes ✊🏾
— Liv. (@_OhNono) August 11, 2016
Nina Anderson shouted out the 20-year-old competitor.
look at this sista swimming for USA Simone Manuel👀 go head girl! 🏊🏿✨
— Nina Anderson (@NaturallyNina_) August 11, 2016
Jade Anouka caught Manuel’s swimming replay and hashtagged the win #raisethatbar.
— Jade Anouka (@JadeAnouka) August 11, 2016
Aside from her win last night, Manuel also took the silver medal in the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay last weekend. Competing with American teammates – Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer and Katie Ledecky – Manuel gave the U.S. a head start with her 53.36-second lead-off leg. Ultimately, the Campbell sisters and the Australians won the match in 3:30.65. Team USA came second with 3:31.89.