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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Farida Osman, Women's swimming, Egypt

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The rising Cal senior and the pride of Egypt will be making her 2nd Olympic games appearance in Rio.

Cal rising senior Farida Osman will look to improve upon her London 2012 results in Rio.
Cal rising senior Farida Osman will look to improve upon her London 2012 results in Rio.
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Farida Osman

Sport: Women's Swimming (50 Free, 100 Fly)

Country: Egypt

Twitter: @FaridaOsman

Birthday: January 18th, 1995 (age 21)

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt (born in Indianapolis, Indiana)

Cal affiliation: current California Golden Bears student (the rising senior is a Media studies major)

Years at Cal: 2013 - present

Olympic appearances: 2012 London (50 Free, 41st with a time of 26.34), 2016 Rio

Cal Achievements:

A key part of the Cal women's swimming team that won the 2015 NCAA team title, Farida Osman has been the best butterflier and sprinter on the Cal squad for the past few seasons.

Osman has also swam the freestyle in three NCAA winning relays in her Golden Bears career thus far. *For some reason the 200 free relay result is not listed on the Cal Bears national championships page (It is rather disappointing to see that the counts for relay championships is off on that page as well, even without counting this relay; pretty sure I have accidentally propagated the wrong info in my posts before.).

  • 2015 - 200 free relay, 1.27.60, Kaylin Bing, Missy Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, Farida Osman
  • 2015 - 200 medley relay, 1.35.16, Rachel Bootsma, Marina Garcia, Noemie Thomas, Farida Osman
  • 2016 - 200 free relay, 1.26.80, Amy Bilquist, Farida Osman, Kristen Vredeveld, Valerie Hull

At the 2015 NCAA championships, Farida Osman was one of the busiest Golden Bear. In Day 1, she swam the anchor leg of the NCAA winning 200 free relay, finished 4th in the 50 free, and then swam the fly leg of the 3rd place 400 medley relay. Osman opened Day 2 by swimming the anchor leg of the NCAA wining 200 medley relay and finished 4th in the 100 fly. Most incredibly, in both of the two relay wins, it was Farida Osman as the anchor who caught up and surpass the opponents for the wins. In Day 3, she made another A-Final (7th place in the 100 Free) and then swam the anchor leg of the NCAA runner up 400 free relay. Missy Franklin may have been the star of that meet, but Farida Osman was right up there in terms of the all around contribution toward the team win.

Osman has come close to winning her own individual NCAA title, but has yet to break through there. She has got one more season of eligibility to achieve that goal.

Due to the lack of better swimming training in Egypt, Farida Osman really had to adjust to the training routines and the the team environment at Cal. In both 2014 and 2015, Farida Osman has won the team's Most Improved award. She has steadily improved to be a potential medaling threat in the Rio games this year.

International Achievements:

Farida Osman is a part of a sizable international contingent of the Cal women's swimming team. While the bar for swimming in Egypt or even the entire continent of Africa is lower in general, it is nevertheless impressive what Osman has done on the international stage.

Farida Osman owns the Egyptian record in 50 Free, 100 Free, and 100 Fly. She also owns the African record for the 50 Free.

People took notice on the international scene when Farida Osman surprised the competition at the 3rd FINA World Junior Swimming Championships from Lima, Peru in 2011. She won the 50 Fly (possibly her best event, although it is NOT an Olympic event) to put the world on notice.

Competing at the big World Championships since a young age, Farida Osman has continued to improve on her times.

In her signature 50 Fly, Farida Osman has placed 7th in the World at the 2013 FINA World Championships and then 5th at the 2015 FINA World Championships. She ranked more in the 20's for the standard Olympic events.

At the 2015 FINA World Championships, Farida Osman was able to break her own national record in the 100 Fly of 59.31 with a 58.48 and then a 58.22 time (in the swim-off).

Osman was the only Egyptian woman swimmer to make the 2012 London (she was also the youngest Egyptian Olympian in London) to go with only on male Egyptian swimmer. In 2016, however, Egypt is sending another women's swimmer (who is competing in open water swim, however) to go with 5 male swimmers.

Rio, we're ready for you #20days

A photo posted by Camille Cheng (@calcamel) on


More on Farida and her Rio outlook:

Born in Indianapolis when her parents are in dental school in the U.S., Farida Osman moved back to Egypt as a baby. In a country without a great tradition in swimming, Farida Osman has had to be a bit of a trailblazer. With her international success and success at Cal, Farida IS the face of women's swimming in Egypt. In one of the article about her, she has been dubbed "the Missy Franklin of Egypt".

Farida's amazing journey has been well documented. In short, she was not even sure that she was going to the 2012 London Olympic games despite posting a qualifying time because of the civil unrest in Cairo. Because she had to halt her training for until a month before the London games, Farida only swam in the 50 free sprint (easier to train in the short time scale). Thanks to her older brother being a Cal student and Farida meeting Teri McKeever at the 2012 London games, Farida Osman moved oversea to Cal for her collegiate swim.

You can read more about Farida's story (mostly about her journey to the 2012 London games) from these articles below:

From the SF Chronicle article above:

And a funny thing happened to the Cal team. Everywhere the Bears went to compete, they were greeted by a large contingent of Egyptians, rooting hard for Osman.

"She's incredibly huge in Egypt," McKeever said. "We can go to a meet anywhere in the country and there will be Egyptians. They cheer for her. They ask her to come to dinner. She's clearly an inspiration."

With her fun personality, Farida Osman is fun to root for and an inspiration to the young girls of Egypt. Of course, she can reach another level of fame if she can find a way to medal in Rio.

Even with all of her improvements, especially after coming to Cal, Farida still needs to drop more time to get to that top 8 in the world in either the 50 Free or the 100 Fly. Since she qualified for Rio quite awhile back and has not swim in a major competition in recent months (like her U.S. counterparts at the US Swim Trials), it is a bit of a mystery just how fast she is swimming currently.

While Farida Osman has been to the Olympic games before, this is her first time going as a "Calympian". While the Egyptian swimming delegation is still small, she will have plenty of Golden Bears friends at Rio.

Farida Osman might not be at the same level as fellow Calympians in alum and training partner Dana Vollmer in the 100 Fly or incoming Golden Bear Abbey Weitzeil in the 50 Free yet, but I would not be shocked if she managed to make it to the finals in one of these races. That would be a huge achievement and a big lift for swimming in the country of Egypt.

Good luck to Farida in Rio and GO BEARS!