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Old 03-07-2016, 06:50 PM   #1
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Sugar Land's Simone Manuel Prepares to Represent Team USA in Rio

Among the more than 10,000 athletes competing in the 2016 Olympic Games is an all-star swimmer from Sugar Land.

Simone Manuel graduated from Austin High School and is now training at Stanford University.

At the Team USA Media Summit in Los Angeles, she said she couldn't be more proud and humbled to represent her hometown and her country in the 2016 Summer Games.

Manuel is in good company, sitting at the Media Summit alongside Olympic medalists like Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin, ready to go for gold in Rio.

Manuel told KPRC Channel 2, "I'm definitely humbled if I'm an inspiration to someone to join the sport."

Her heart is still grounded in Sugar Land where she was born and raised.

She added, "It's where I grew up. It's where I found my love of swimming. My family and friends are there. It's just home to me."

That love of swimming began at a very young age where she met the one person who influenced her the most as an athlete.

Manuel said, "My coach on the First Colony Swim Team, Allison Beebe, she definitely believed in developing swimmers and I wouldn't be the swimmer I am today without her. (She) just really taught me a lot of life lessons along with how I swam and really just focused on helping me enjoy the journey every step of the way."

A long way from friends and family while training at Stanford, she said there is just one thing she was happy to leave behind in the Lone Star State.

"I do not miss the humidity at all!" she laughed.

Another interesting fact about Manuel is many members of her extended family moved to Houston from New Orleans around the time of Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, she had about 50 family members living in her home at one point. So she said they will be rooting for her in Rio.

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