Homecoming for B’klyn Olympic bronze medalist

Swimmer Lia Neal a 17-year-old Brooklyn native, won a bronze medal as part of the Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay in the 2012 Olympic Games. She is the first of the Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics (AGUA) swim team to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, and the first to bring home an Olympic medal.

Lia, a Swim for the Future Scholarship recipient, has been developing her talents on the AGUA swim team for nine years. For thousands of children that participate in swimming and other sports at Asphalt Green, Neal is role-model for those just learning to swim, to those with dreams of becoming an Olympian.

Lia was raised in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn by her parents Jerome and Sui Neal, who are of African-American and Chinese-American descent. She has three older brothers.

Lia, a rising senior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Manhattan, is bilingual — being fluent in English and Cantanoese and is currently studying Mandarin.

Her career highlights include the most recent 2012 Olympic Games (Bronze in 4xl00m Freestyle Relay with a time of 3:34.24) as well as the 2011 World Junior Championships (Gold in 100m Freestyle, Silver in 50m Freestyle); 2010 Junior Pan Pacific Championships (Gold in 4xl00m Freestyle Relay, Gold in 800m Freestyle Relay, Gold in 400m Medley Relay, Silver in 100m Freestyle, and Bronze in 50m Freestyle) and 2008 Olympic Trials participant, having qualified by breaking the 11-12 age-group record in the 100m Freestyle.

She started swimming at six years old and joined AGUA (Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics) at eight. She is a Swim for the Future Scholarship recipient and the first AGUA team member to make the Olympic team and earn an Olympic medal.

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