Manuel reveals burnout diagnosis after loss at swim trials

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Tears welled in Simone Manuel’s eyes. Her voice broke as she revealed the heartbreaking reason behind her failure to advance in the 100-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials.

The first Black woman ever to win an individual swimming gold medal at the Olympics was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome — or burnout — in late March. She’d never heard of it before. Her mother looked up the condition online. At first, Manuel modified her training at Stanford for two weeks.

“I wasn’t seeing any progress with my performance in the pool,” she said Thursday night. “It actually was declining.”

Manuel first noticed in January that she seemed off. But it wasn’t until two months later that “my body completely crashed.” Her symptoms included increased heart rate while at rest and in training, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and muscle soreness.

“Just walking up the stairs to the pool, I was gassed,” the 24-year-old sprinter said.

Workouts that once were easy became harder. She’d snap at her mother’s questions over the phone from Texas and eventually isolated herself from her family. She had trouble eating. She talked to sports psychologists.

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