Lia Neal came in fourth in the 100-meter freestyle finals. Her finish gave her a spot on the 400 freestyle relay team.
Neal, whose father is African-American, and mother is Chinese-American, became the second African-American woman to represent U.S. swimming in the Olympics. The first was Maritza Correia, who was a member of the silver-medal-winning 400-meter freestyle relay team at the 2004 Athens Games.
Neal, who lives in Brooklyn, started taking swimming lessons with friends when she was 6. She showed promise, and a swim mom recommended when she was 8 that she try out for a swim team. She’s been training ever since with Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
“Actually, not many people know about Asphalt Green,” she said. “It’s one of the most beautiful pools in New York City. I think swimming is becoming a bigger and bigger thing in the city.”
Tip: Rome Neal