The 24th annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet was held this weekend at the Takoma Community Center in Washington D.C., hosting nearly 500 athletes.
Founded in 1987 by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and The United Black Fund, Inc., in honor of Black History Month, the meet has been called the “premier minority swim competition in the United States and in the world,” by USA Swimming, according to the meet’s website.
Swimmers from several states including Florida, New Jersey, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania joined area athletes for the weekend-long event.
“It was a fantastic weekend and we were so surprised everyone still gave it full support especially considering Snowmaggedon hit D.C.,” said John Stokes, director of communications for the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.”Thirty-nine teams made it to this event from as far south as Florida and as far north as Michigan, as far east as New York and as far West as New Orleans. This is a monumental event that takes place and gives kids an opportunity to take part in friendly competition.”
When the meet started 24 years ago, there were just six participants. That has blossomed to the hundreds that now take part and “that tells you how relevant and significant this meet is to kids around the country,” Stokes said.
This year’s swim meet honorees, recognized as “courageous and notable African Americans whose contributions are known throughout the world,” were Maritza Correia, Byron Davis, Sabir Muhammed and David Goggins.
Past honorees include Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Benjamin Banneker, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones.
Held over three days with swimmers ranging in age from five to 18, the meet saw several standout performances including standout performances by 14-year old Jason Coombs of Blue Dolfins Swim Team of Oviedo, Fla., 18-year old Josh Tomlin of the Baltimore-Metro Aquatic Club and 13-year old Jalyn Robinson of Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club, among others.
See the full results here.
Coombs won the 50-yard freestyle (23.63), 100 freestyle (50.45), 200 freestyle (1:51.73) and set a meet and pool record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:55.46. He also won the 100 breaststroke (1:02.53), 200 breaststroke (2:23.33), 200 IM (2:06.01) and set another pool and meet record in the 400 IM (4:29.94).
Tomlin won the 50 freestyle (21.84), 100 freestyle (47.61), 200 freestyle (1:48.48) and 500 freestyle (5:01.02), as well as the 100 backstroke (53.60), 100 butterfly (52.06), 200 IM (2:05.43) and 400 IM (4:26.72).
Robinson took titles in the 100 freestyle (57.49), 200 freestyle (2:04.26), 500 freestyle (5:24.50), 100 backstroke (1:03.87), 100 butterfly (1:05.53), 200 butterfly (2:31.77), 400 IM (5:13.44) and finished second in the 50 free (26.57).
Other top point scorers included Curl-Burke’s Kiri Harvey, 12, and Baltimore-Metro’s Niya and Nandi Ross.