Simone Manuel Has ‘Healing’ Race to Qualify for Paris Olympics After Dealing with Frustrating Illness

After winning four medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Manuel shared her diagnosis before a disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics

<p>Al Bello/Getty</p>

Al Bello/Getty

Simone Manuel has made her third Olympic team, three years after a debilitating diagnosis robbed her of her training regimen and ability to compete.

The Texas native, 27, took fourth place in the 100-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic swim trials on Wednesday, June 19 — good enough for a spot on the relay team in Paris.

While her finish left her three-tenths of a second from competing in the event at the Summer Games, it was a victory for the five-time Olympic medalist.

“Being in this arena, and being surrounded by these fans, honestly has been so healing,” Manuel told reporters after the final at Lucas Oil Stadium. “To know that these people are just excited to see me swim again, swim at this level again, is something that's really special.”

Related: Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Manuel Marries Denzel Franklin in Two Weddings: See the Photos! (Exclusive)

Manuel became the first female Black athlete to individually medal at an Olympics in 2016, when she took gold in the 100-meter freestyle in Rio and earned three other medals.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

But the Tokyo Olympics were disappointing for Manuel. Shortly before, she revealed to the world that she had been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, in which her body began to adversely react to intense exercise.

Her muscles fatigued, Manuel failed to make the 50-meter freestyle in Tokyo, and came home to Texas with a prescription from her doctors to rest indefinitely, the Associated Press reported.

Related: Gabrielle Rose, 46, Makes History in 100M Butterfly at Olympic Trials: 'I'm So Proud of Myself'

“It’s probably the most boring months of my life,” she told the AP about her time spent out of the pool, when even a light jog was discouraged. “I spent a lot of time talking about my feelings, what happened, processing what happened, because I think when you’re in it, you’re kind of in survival mode. I really needed to process it and come to terms with everything.”

On Wednesday in front of 22,000-plus fans at the football stadium in Indianapolis, Manuel marveled at her journey so far.

“When I really think about how far I've come, and the mountain I had to climb,” Manuel said, “I think it's really important for me to look back and be proud of myself for continuing to fight through this process and believe in myself.”

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit and come to to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.