Tokyo (AP) —Siobhan Bernadette has already made history at the Tokyo Olympics. Then she went out and polished her heritage in the pool.
A 23-year-old swimmer from Hong Kong won the silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle on Friday and the silver medal in the 200 frees two days ago. This is the first swimming medal won by Hong Kong.
“This is crazy and surreal,” Hohee said. “200 free is always my main event, so 100 is like a bonus to me. My goal is just to get in and have fun and swim the best time. I did that.”
Only Emma McKeon of Australia took the lead in her time of 52.27 seconds with 100 frees. Emma McKeon set an Olympic record of 51.96 and won the championship.
“I hadn’t had much experience in this race,” Hohee said. “I had another great time. It’s very surreal.”
Hundreds of people rushed to a shopping mall in Hong Kong on Friday to see Hohee. Her two silver medals are one of the six medals the country has won since her first appearance at the 1952 Summer Olympics.
“I’m having a good time here. If that means great results, it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
With 200 freestyles, Hohee finished second after Tokyo’s 400 freestyle champion Arian Titoms of Australia.
“That was a big deal,” said Titoms. “I knew Shioban really wanted this, so I thought it would be difficult to beat her.”
Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Hohee finished 13th with 200 frees. She has won multiple medals at the Asian Games, East Asian Games and the Summer Youth Olympic Games.
“I feel like I’ve always been very close,” she said.
Born four months after Britain returned Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997, she grew up there until the United States set out to attend the University of Michigan. She graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2019 and was the 15th Big Ten Conference Champion.
Hohee combined blue Michigan shorts with a cream-colored Hong Kong team jacket to attend a press conference for the medalist. She answered some questions in Cantonese, one of the three fluently spoken languages, in addition to Mandarin and English.
Her father, Darracq, is Irish and her mother, Kanjo, is from Hong Kong. Her late uncle was Charles Hohee, Ireland’s third prime minister.
Hohee continued training at the University of Michigan until the coronavirus pandemic began last year and returned to Hong Kong. Her US-based coach emailed her training set daily.
Her second Olympics teaches Hohee a high degree of complexity, including how to recover between races, manage stress, and reset emotions between events.
“Knowing that I can compete with the best players in the world and moving forward definitely gives me more confidence,” she said. “There is a lot to learn from this experience.”
Other coverage of the Associated Press: https://www.apnews.com/OlympicGames and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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