When Simone Manuel touched the wall at the end of the 100 m Freestyle race, not only did she break an Olympic Record, but she also became the 1st first Black woman to win an individual event in Olympic swimming. Her win is a powerful symbol against the racialized history of swimming in this country. Shout out to the many Black American swimmers who came before Manuel (and those to come)!
She was an American competition swimmer, Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in five events. In 1926, she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Among other nicknames, the press sometimes called her “Queen of the Waves.” She played herself in movies, and was a large public figure.
She was from Manhattan, New York City, and was hard of hearing since childhood and became almost completely Deaf by the 1940s. She spent some of her time teaching swimming to deaf children.
Lynne Cox is an accomplished American open water swimmer. Twice, she held the record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel. Cox was the first woman to swim the Cook Strait and the first to swim the Straits of Magellan and around the Cape of Good Hope. Cox swam the Bering Strait from American soil to Soviet soil in 1987, at the height of the Cold War.
Golden Penny never cease to amaze! Yesterday, in an unforgettable race, the 16-year-old Torontonian tied with United States’s Simone Manuel -the first Black woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming- when they both dead-heated in
52.70 seconds in the 100m freestyle before Sweden’s Sarah
Sjöström. Australia’s Campbell sisters were, with world champion Bronte and world record holder Cate, the favourites of the race finished fourth and sixth respectively.
Both Oleksiak and Manuel were adorably shocked by their wonderful performance, and Penny immediately swam to her co-gold medallist and they fell into each other’s arms. Just beautiful and moving, like O Canada finally playing in Rio.