By Kayla Amora, EnStarz | Jul 18, 2012 10:37 AM EDT
Lia Neal is inspiring as a 17 year-old young woman from Brooklyn, New York. After the 2012 Olympic swimming trials, the athlete became the second African American female to qualify for the US Olympic Swim team.
"It's a pretty big title to have," Neal said, adding, "I just hope this inspires more people to join the sport."
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Neal's swimming journey to the Olympics is described as one of "beating the odds," the Examiner reported. As a New York native, the young woman had few places to practice swimming. But her family has been a great support in helping her to reach her dreams at any cost.
"Any parent would do what I do," Siu Neal, her mother, said according to the New York Times. "They all spend lots of time with their kids, take them to swimming practice, bringing them to competitions and meets. I don't consider it giving up anything. I enjoy watching her swim; I even loved to watch her practice."
Siu beleves that Neal's swimming achievments are admirable, but they didn't come easy.
"There was a lot of time, a lot of hard work, a lot of determination, for the child," Lia's mother said. "She gave up a lot of the privileges other young people have. All of her time was either practicing swimming or dry land training or going to school. When she came home, she had homework to do. It seems like she always had to race against time to get everything done."
"This young lady is going to touch someone who's going to be reaching for that higher goal also because of what Lia is doing right now in the water," Rome Neal, her father added.
Neal's swimming years have proven wildly successful. She earned a gold medal for the 100m free relay and a silver for the 50m free relay at the 2011 World Junior Championship.
In the 2012 Olympic Swimming Trials, the young star athlete came in fourth place at 54.33 seconds, qualifying her for the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the London Olympics.
The Olympic pool competition will take place July 28 to August 4 at the London Aquatic Centre. The women's and men's 10K Olympic marathon swim will take place on Aug. 9 and 10, respectively, at the Serpentine at Hyde Park in London.
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