Simone Manuel was unable to secure her spot for Tokyo after failing to qualify for the 100m freestyle finals at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Manuel revealed on Thursday that she missed key training due to being diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, which is defined as a "maladapted response to excessive exercise without adequate rest."
Manuel still has a chance to go to the 2020 Olympics if she can finish first or second in the 50m freestyle this weekend.
In January she began feeling off, and after months of training she realized that her swimming performance was getting progressively worse. As her workouts became harder, her symptoms began to increase. She suffered from insomnia, depression, loss of appetite and anxiety. “Just walking up the stairs to the pool, I was gassed,” Manuel said.
Manuel was forced to stop training in order to rest and did not resume her workouts until April 17, which proved to be inadequate time to prepare for the Tokyo Games.
"I had moments where I didn’t even want to go to the pool because I knew it was going to be bad," she said.
"It was an uphill climb once I got back into the water. That was hard because I love this sport."
Manuel went on to say that being a Black person in America was a contributing factor. "This past year for the Black community has been brutal,” she said. “I can’t say that that wasn’t something that I saw, it’s not something that I could ignore. and it was just another factor that can influence you, mentally in a draining way."
Manuel will not defend her 100m freestyle title in Tokyo but says, "This isn’t the last time you’re going to see me ... This isn’t the last time I’m going to do something great in the pool. I’m confident in that."