Simone Manuel Promotes Water Safety in Sports Illustrated Kids

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Four-time Rio Olympic medalist Simone Manuel recently caught up with Sports Illustrated Kids to talk about finishing up another year at Stanford, her Olympic success, and why more children should be participating swim lessons. They also highlighted her involvement with USA Swimming’s Make A Splash Foundation, which is currently on its ninth-annual tour.

Many stories involving swim lessons and swim education have been surfacing recently in honor of National Water Safety Month. FINA is doing their part as well, with their Swimming for All, Swimming for Life campaign and clinic currently taking place in Bangkok.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

In the article, Manuel explained that formal lessons decrease drowning rates by 88%. While these lessons cannot completely prevent drowning, she said they are the most important step in creating comfort and safety in and around the water.

“It’s really important to get involved in swimming because it’s a life-saving skill,” Manuel told Sports Illustrated Kids. “And with the Make a Splash program, the goal of USA Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation is to give a million swim lessons to children. It’s important to be safe around the water and comfortable when you’re swimming.”

While Manuel stressed this issue multiple times, she also answered some more light-hearted questions regarding her time at Stanford and who her heroes were growing up.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Manuel mentioned how special it was to help win Stanford’s first NCAA title in 19 years with her very talented teammates.  She also explained why she admired Serena Williams as a child and throughout her life; Manuel said she could easily relate to Williams because of her diversity and the experiences she has gone through.

She also gave some tips on how to balance school and swimming, but provided one quote that most swimmers can relate to. When asked what she thinks about during her countless hours in the pool, Manuel said:

“[laughs] I don’t think about that much. It depends. Sometimes it’s something as simple as, ‘What am I going to eat after this practice?’ I think about a lot of technical things that I’m swimming. But most of the time I’m not thinking about anything. I feel like the pool is a place for me to kind of shut off my brain.”

The full Sports Illustrated Kids article can be found here.