Sixteen-year-old Brooklyn native Lia Neal recently had an extraordinary run at the CeraVe Invitational, a three-day swim meet at Rutgers University Sonny Werblin Recreation Center.
Neal and her teammate, Annie Zhu, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School, represented their Asphalt Green United Aquatics team.
AGUA is Manhattan’s leading competitive swim team.
Neal set a meet record of 55.88 in the 100-meter Freestyle, clearing the Olympic Trials cut in the win. Her time cleared the former meet record of 56.00s set by Katie Hoff back in 2007. Hoff went on to be a World Aquatics Championships gold medal winner and Olympic gold medal contender in 2008.
Neal also won the 50-meter Freestyle in 25.96, surpassing another former meet record of 26.13, set by Michele King in 2006. Neal also placed second in the 200-meter Freestyle as well as the 100-meter Butterfly.
To place Neal’s incredible performance in context, the current world record for the Women’s 100-m Freestyle is 52.07, held by Britta Steffen from Germany, and the American record, held by Amanda Weir, is 52.07, a mere 3.8 seconds faster than Neal’s recent results.
“Although it wasn’t my best time, I’m really happy with how I placed,” Neal told reporters after the race.
Zhu took home first place in the Women’s 400 and 200-meter individual Medley. She clocked a 4:50.18 time to also make the Olympic Trials cut.
Neal and Zhu are on their way to compete in the London Olympic Games this year.