Seventeen-year-old Lia Neal will be the face of not only the U.S.A., but also of Brooklyn at this year’s 2012 Summer Olympics.
Neal, who has been swimming for the past eight years at the Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics on the Upper East Side, placed fourth in the 100-meter freestyle in the Olympic trials in June, which took place in Omaha, Nebraska. That earned her a spot on the 100-meter freestyle relay team, reported The New York Times.
Touching the wall in a personal best of 54.33 seconds, Neal is the second African-American woman to make a U.S. Olympic swim team, noted The Washington Post.
Growing up in Flatbush near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Neal is the daughter of an African-American father and Asian-American mother. She is currently a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart school in Manhattan and will return in the fall to begin her senior year.
Neal and fellow swimmer Missy Franklin qualified four years ago making them the youngest swimmers entering the Olympic trials. A month before turning 13, the teen broke an 11-12 age group record in the 100 meter freestyle (58.17).
The cards had something else in store for Neal this time: the eighth-best time in the semifinals, landing her the last spot in the final.