It wasn’t just a first for a country, but for a whole continent.
On Saturday night at Duna Arena, the seventh day of competition at the FINA World Championships, Farida Osman became the first African female to earn a medal — and the only Egyptian ever to medal in a world championship meet.
She came in third in the 50m butterfly, in 25.39.
"I’m really happy with that result,” a breathless Osman said after the race.
Osman was born in the United States, where her parents studied dentistry at Indiana University — they now have a dental practice in Cairo together.
Currently a student at the University of California-Berkeley, Osman was raised in Cairo for 18 years until moving to the Bay Area for college, where this spring she won the NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly.
“I’m very happy for her,” said Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who won Saturday’s race in 24.60.
“She’s been around for a few world championship finals and semifinals and I think she’s very happy to take a step up to the podium now.”
Osman, 22, is a two-time Olympian but until now hadn’t made a trip to the podium at either a world championships or the Olympics. Earning a medal is a dream she’s been chasing all season.
“That was my target and goal from the very beginning,” said Osman, “so the fact that I could achieve it means a lot.”
The Egyptian Swimming Federation was founded in 1907. No swimmer had made it to the podium. Until Saturday night.
“I created history,” said Osman.