Brooklyn Native Lia Neal Wins Bronze Medal in London Olympics

Lia Neal, who is the second African-American woman to ever swim on the US Olympic team, and at 17 years-old the youngest, was part or the US women’s relay team that captured third place in this coveted Olympic event.

Neal, who is also half Chinese, was part of the four-woman, 4X100-meter freestyle relay team also consisting of Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, and Allison Schmitt. Together the women finished the race with a time of 3:34.24. Neal swam the third of the four legs of the race in 53.65 seconds.

The Australian team took home the gold medal with an Olympic record-time of 3:33.15; and winning the silver was the Netherlands coming in at a fast 3:33.79 seconds.

“I was so ready to go as fast as I could,”

said Neal, who is a senior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart high school on New York’s Upper East Side. The pool that she trains in, Asphalt Green, is close by.

Neal has been impressed with the support that she has been receiving for her achievement.

“Even people that I don’t know have been cheering for me,” she said.


Shari has certainly been around the block. As a teacher, writer, former CEO and present day master chef, Shari can cover a human interest story with a flare and style hard to match anywhere. Born and raised in the streets, schools and institutions of Brooklyn, Shari is the epitome of Brooklyn life. Contact Shari at shari(at)