Who Said Black People Can’t Swim?

Who Said Black People Can’t Swim?

There’s a long, complicated history behind Black people in America and swimming pools and the repercussions are evident still today. Do you know that as many as 70% of Black people don’t know how to swim at all? That’s more than two out of every three Black people and more than double the estimate of Caucasian non-swimmers according to studies conducted at USA Swimming. Perhaps that’s why at Howard University, it is required for any student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the college of arts and science to pass a swimming course before graduating. 

Knowing this makes Nicholas Askew's achievements with the  Howard University Swimming Team that much more impressive. Howard University is the only HBCU with a Division 1 swimming team and ever since coach Askew signed on, they have been making major waves. 

“In just his second season, the team immediately began to excel 
by winning its first dual meet in nearly 15 years.
 Additionally, in season three, both teams finished 
the dual meet season undefeated at home.” 

Askew’s resume is looooong. His swimmers continue to break school records and  have gone on to qualify for the olympics. He not only coaches his teams to athletic victory, but the teams are also breaking academic records.“The Men's program has achieved the highest Team GPA award at HU in two of the last three years.” It’s easy to see why he has earned various honors including “Coach of the Week," "Coach of the Year," and "Professional of the Year." He has also been featured in major publications such as Swim Swam Magazine and Swimming World Magazine for the legacy he is creating. Most recently, Askew’s contribution to the Howard University athletics department was celebrated with the incredible honor of being inducted into the Howard University Athletic Hall of Fame. The Howard University Swim and Dive season has just started but if the past is any indication, they’re going to make some major waves.

Let’s give it up for coach Nicholas Askew and the HU Swim and Dive teams! 

Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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