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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Hinds lands bronze in relay, Gators get second medal of night

Florida alumnus Natalie Hinds helped the US win the 4x100 freestyle relay

Natalie Hinds, bottom, of the United States is congratulated by teammates after swimming the fourth leg during a preliminary round of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Natalie Hinds, bottom, of the United States is congratulated by teammates after swimming the fourth leg during a preliminary round of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Former Gator Natalie Hinds swam the third leg of the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay Saturday night and, in her first Olympic event ever, helped secure the bronze medal for the red, white and blue.

Hinds, who graduated from Florida in 2016, jumped in the pool with the United States out of position for a medal after Australia, Great Britain and Sweden raced out to early advantages. The stars and stripes were at least 0.3 seconds behind the leaders halfway through the race.

Hinds swiftly corrected the US course with a 53.15-second split, enough to push the States into third position for Simone Manuel’s anchor performance.

Despite a 52.96 final 100 meters from Manuel, Canada edged past the USA for the silver medal at the very end behind a time of 52.26 seconds from Penny Oleksiak in the adjacent lane.

Hinds, Manuel, Erika Brown and Abbey Weitzeil all assumed the final step of the podium as Australia took the top spot by over three seconds to set a world record. 

Despite missing out on silver, Hinds still got her hands on her first Olympic medal and added a second bronze to UF’s Saturday haul after Kieran Smith’s performance in the 400-meter freestyle.

Hinds was named to the All-SEC First Team in 2013, 2015 and 2016 but stepped away from swimming after she missed out on the 2016 Olympics to focus on her work with Turner Broadcasting, but her competitive fire reignited when she watched the 2018 USA National Championships. The former back-to-back SEC champion in the 100-yard freestyle (2015 & 2016) qualified for her first Olympics at age 27 and is now an Olympic medalist.

Contact Ryan Haley at rhaley@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_dhaley.

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Ryan Haley

Ryan Haley is a second-year journalism major with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.


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