NEW YORK CITY — Two New Yorkers are going to London as members of the Olympic Team.
Lia Neal, a 17-year-old swimmer from Fort Greene, became the second-ever African-American woman to make the Olympic swim team. She came in in fourth in the 100-meter freestyle finals on Saturday Night, netting her a spot in London on the 400-meter freestyle relay team, according to USA Swimming.
The teen was one of five members of Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics — or AGUA — to make the trials in Omaha, Neb. this weekend. The club is a year-long competitive swim team and swim school, according to the club's official website.
"Those last few strokes were really tough," Neal told the Washington Post. "I felt at that point I was just flailing my arms, doing whatever I could to get to the wall. When I first saw my time, I was in complete shock. It was crazy."
Neal was ranked sixth in the nation in the 100-meter women's freestyle going into the trials, and fifth in 200-meter. She also competed in the 50-meter freestyle trials in 2008.
In addition to Neal, Harding Park-resident John Orozco, 19, made the Olympic Gymnastics team, according to USA Gymnastics.
"Now it's not a dream anymore," Orozco told the Daily News. "Now it's a memory."
Orozco has been competing in gymnastics since 1999, and was trained at the World Cup Gymnastics gym in Chappaqua, NY, for nine-and-a-half years until moving to an Olympic training facility in December of 2010.
Orozco competes in the all-around competition, and his old coach thinks he's good enough to come in the top three in every event.
"We immediately knew he was a special kid," Jason Hebert, the 41-year-old head coach and director at World Cup, told DNAinfo.com. "He just kept excelling and excelling, and everyone would feed off of his energy and ability."
While World Cup has produced high-ranking national gymnasts and NCAA champions, Orozco will be the gym's first Olympian. And now that Orozco has gotten that far, Hebert told the teen that he expects him to reach even farther.
"Even though you've fulfilled your dream, now you have to fulfill a new dream with a gold medal," Hebert said he told Orozco.