Howard is making strides with the only black collegiate swim team in the United States
Howard University may already be known as the “Harvard of HBCUs,” but let’s take a moment to highlight another notable title: home to our nation’s only all-black collegiate swim team!
Swim coach Nic Askew says “nobody in America” can offer what Howard can
The Howard swim team received a special mention sports illustrated Earlier this month, coach Nic Askew spoke about how the groundbreaking squad fosters a unique experience that “no one else [else] can offer in America.”
“Nobody in America can offer what we have in our pool. Where else are you going to see that?”
With the publication noting that less than about 1.5% of the country’s competitive swimmers are Black, Howard is a major force in breaking down barriers within the sport — which has traditionally “locked her out of this experience.”
“This is about our mission as a university and the message we want to send as HBCU. This isn’t a bunch of black guys in a pool; it is young black men and women who are thriving in a sport that has excluded them from that experience for years.”
As a matter of fact, Howard’s swim team is currently in the midst of competing in the Northeast Conference (NEC) championships. Additionally, the team will compete in the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) National Invitational Championships in March.
In a sport plagued by representation issues, Howard University coach Nic Askew isn’t just building a strong swimming program.
He builds something bigger: pic.twitter.com/hmoWcj3jXS
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 1, 2023
The Meaning of “Offering Representation”
Regarding the overarching mission of creating a supportive space for black swimmers, Askew asks, “How many of these kids would have continued swimming in college if it weren’t for Howard?”
He also acknowledges the importance the school’s swim team can have in getting other young black athletes interested in the sport, since it’s difficult to get people interested in something when “nobody looks like them.”
“How are you going to get a black boy or girl interested in your sport if they don’t see a future for themselves because nobody looks like them?”
Adds Nic Askew: “This is not representation [or] development of this sport. That shuts out a whole group of people.”
Likewise during a separate interview with NBC News, remarked the Howard University swimming coach: “It’s about more than what we do every day. We have to be the representatives.”
In other words, while the team dominates the sport, it’s about more than just collecting awards — it’s about changing the narrative.
Salute to THE famous Howard University and their groundbreaking swim team!
https://theshaderoom.com/black-history-howard-university-college-swim-team/ Howard is making strides with the only black collegiate swim team in the United States