‘I want to win’

Manuel backs up his­toric Olympic win with world cham­pi­onship vic­tory

The Western Star - - Sports - BY PAUL NEWBERRY

Si­mone Manuel felt the pres­sure of be­ing an Olympic cham­pion. It sure didn’t bother her at the world cham­pi­onships.

The 20-year-old Texan backed up her his­toric vic­tory in Rio de Janeiro by ral­ly­ing to beat Swe­den’s world-record holder Sarah Sjostrom in the 100-me­tre freestyle Fri­day.

Hey, when you’ve got two older broth­ers, you’re used to play­ing catch-up.

“It’s kind of been in­grained in me,’’ said Manuel, who edged Sjostrom on the fi­nal stroke. “I want to win, and I’ve been train­ing to do that this whole time.’’

Last sum­mer, Manuel be­came the first African-Amer­i­can woman to win an in­di­vid­ual swim­ming gold at the Olympics when she tied Canada’s Penny Olek­siak for the top spot on the podium.

“It was a lot of pres­sure know­ing that I was the Olympic gold medal­list in that event,’’ Manuel said. “I had a lot of nerves.’’

An­other U.S. Olympic cham­pion came up short in his bid for an in­di­vid­ual gold in Bu­dapest.

Ryan Mur­phy set­tled for sil­ver in the 200 back­stroke be­hind Rus­sia’s Evgeny Rylov, while an­other Amer­i­can, Ja­cob Pe­b­ley, took the bronze.

Mur­phy swept the back­stroke events last sum­mer in Rio , but he hasn’t been quite as sharp in Bu­dapest. He took bronze in the 100 and sim­ply couldn’t catch Rylov in the longer event, the Rus­sian fin­ish­ing in 1 minute, 53.61 sec­ond to beat Mur­phy by a com­fort­able 0.60 sec­onds.

“There’s def­i­nitely dis­ap­point­ment,’’ Mur­phy said. “I want to be the guy that’s fin­ish­ing first, and I want to be the guy that has the top time in the world. So it def­i­nitely stings a lit­tle bit, com­ing out of this meet and not hav­ing done that in either race. But it’s a long way to 2020.’’

It was a huge night for the Rus­sians, who cap­tured two other in­di­vid­ual golds and grabbed a sil­ver in the men’s 4x200 free re­lay be­hind Bri­tain. Yu­lia Efi­mova bested Amer­i­can ri­val Lilly King in the women’s 200 breast­stroke, eas­ing a bit of the st­ing from two sil­vers in Rio and an­other loss to King in the 100 breast at Bu­dapest.

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