Brooklyn's Lia Neal Just 2nd African-American Female Swimmer In U.S. Olympic History

Brooklyn's Lia Neal, just 17 years old, will swim for the U.S. Olympic team at the 2012 Olympics, becoming just the second African-American female swimmer for Team U.S.A. in history. She will take part in the 4x100 meter relay. The New York Times sat down with her father, a blues singer named Rome Neal, for a story that is well worth your time.

"In the beginning, my wife was saying: ‘Keep it down, keep it down, we don't want to jinx this thing. Don't be talking so much about it to people,' " he said. "Now I can talk because the whole world is talking."

Lia Neal has put in plenty of work to get to reach such an elite level. Everyday, she would travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan at 5 a.m. to swim before school. After school she swam for another two hours. Somehow, she found the time to learn how to speak fluent Cantonese and Mandarin as well.

Neal's presence on the Olympic squad may represent a gradual resurgence of African Americans in a sport that has had so few at all levels. This year, three members of the U.S. Swimming team and two members of the U.S. Gymnastics team are African-American.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation New York

You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.

Join SB Nation New York

You must be a member of SB Nation New York to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation New York. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.