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5 Things to Know About Simone Manuel

Twenty-year-old Simone Manuel is the first African-American woman to medal in an individual swimming event.
Swimming - Olympics: Day 6
Simone Manuel of the United States celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 100m Freestyle Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Adam Pretty / Getty Images

Twenty-year-old Simone Manuel made history Thursday night with her historic swim in the 100m freestyle. Manuel, who set a new Olympic record and tied for gold with Penny Oleksiak of Canada, is the first African-American woman to win a medal of any type in an individual swimming event.

Manuel emerged from the pool teary-eyed and shocked. Securing not only a place in history, but a place in America's heart, it wasn't long after her post-swim interview that she became a trending topic on Twitter.

Here are five things you should know about the swimmer.

1. She understands the magnitude of her historic win

Manuel's win was the first victory by the U.S. in the women's 100m free since 1984.

WATCH: Simone Manuel Ties for Gold in 100m Free

Manuel is also acutely aware of what it means to win this race as a black woman in this racial climate stricken with issues of police brutality.

"I think that this win helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on in the world," Manuel said. "But I mean, I went out there and swam as fast as I could and my color just comes with the territory."

2. She and her Stanford classmate & friend Lia Neal have already made history

Simone Manuel reacts with Lia Neal after they took first and second place in the Women's 100m Freestyle during day one of the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool at Indiana University Natatorium.Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Neal, who won a silver medal in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay, celebrated Manuel in dance and song—something the pair do often on social media.

"That helped keep the nerves off me," Manuel said. "After the race, I gave her a big hug and I cried and I told her, 'Thank you for everything you've done for me.' She's a huge part of my successes."

This Olympic games marks the first time two black female swimmers will compete simultaneously on the U.S. Olympic team, but this isn't the first time Manuel and Neal made history in the pool. At the NCAA championships in 2015, the two were part of a historic 1-2 finish in the 100-yard free final—the first time three African-American swimmers swept the podium, with the University of Florida’s Natalie Hinds placing third.

RELATED: Black Olympians to Watch in Rio 2016 Competitions

3. She's from Texas, just like the other Simone

Manuel is from Sugar Land, Texas, a metropolitan area of Houston. Biles is from Spring, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

In a feature about the pair, The Houston Chronicle wrote, "America is a great country and Houston is a great city. The two were highlighted when two Olympians from Houston took home gold for their country and city."

JJ Watts, defensive end for the Houston Texans, highlighted the city's pride.

RELATED: Dominique Dawes Talks Motherhood, Olympic Dreams and Simone Biles

4. Other athletes erupted in praise on twitter after her win

Though Cullen Jones did not make the Olympic team this year, he has been the token black swimmer throughout his career.

Jones won two golds and two silvers at the last two Olympics, and is the first African-American to break a long-course world record. Jones and Maritza Correia are some of the African-American swimmers to whom Manuel attributes her success.

"This medal is not just for me," Manuel said. "It's for some of the African-Americans that have came before me and have been inspirations and mentors to me. I hope that I can be an inspiration for others."

She certainly has inspired others, as proven by the stream of tweets from other high-profile athletes.

5. She wants to inspire more black swimmers

"I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it's not 'Simone, the black swimmer,'" she said, "because the title 'black swimmer' makes it seem like I'm not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I'm not supposed to be able to break records and that's not true because I work just as hard as anybody else. I want to win just like everybody else."

Manuel carries the "weight of the black community" on her shoulders as one of the few black people in the sport. She wants to be a leading example in increasing awareness that swimming is an option for black people

...and it seems to be working.

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