| Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15 at the Takoma Aquatic Center in Washington D.C., more than 750 athletes from 28 teams and 9 states came together in celebration and competition for the 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM).
The theme of this year’s meet was “Mark Your Place in History” and Justin Lynch of the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears is certainly well on his way to doing so. Lynch, who attended the Honoree’s Reception on Saturday, February 12, is best known for breaking Michael Phelp’s 15-16 age group record in the 100-meter butterfly at the age of 14. With this honor, Lynch joins a group of other history making swimmers from the African American community such as Maritza Correia, Cullen Jones, and Sabir Muhammad.
“I think the theme of the meet is great for minority swimmers,” said Lynch. “I have never seen a pool deck that looked like the one I saw at the invitational.”
Hosted by DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the United Black Fund, Inc. (UBF) the USA Swimming sanctioned event was founded in 1987 and has since selected courageous and notable African Americans to be recognized. In addition to swimmers, BHISM has honored the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (posthumous), and DPR Coach Rodger McCoy.
“It is truly an honor to be part of this historic competition that has hosted some of the sports’ greatest coaches, swimmers and teams,” said Rob Green of D.C. Parks. “Each year we strive to make the meet bigger and better for athletes and their families. We hope to make the 30th Annual Black History Invitational Swim meet the best one yet.”
Along with other multicultural swim meets such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational held in Long Island, NY, the Black History Invitational is one of the premier minority swim meets in the country. With D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor Brenda Donald and event partners such as Diversity in Aquatics, Inc. and Potomac Valley Swimming in attendance, BHISM demonstrates the success they have in bringing together strong partnerships and allies.
During an event celebrating history and the athletic efforts of the youth in attendance, everyone involved was able to recognize the self-reliance, determination, and spirit of fair play that BHISM co-founders, Dr. Calvin Rolark and Dr. William H. Rumsey endeavored to showcase 29 years ago.
For more information about the 29th Annual Black History Invitational, click here.
For more information about USA Swimming diversity and inclusion visit: sftest.usaswimming.org/diversity.