24th Annual Black History Swim Meet Begins this Weekend

Robert P. Stephens II | 2/11/2010, 10:09 a.m.

The 24th annual Black History Swim Meet kicks-off Fri., Feb. 12, at the Takoma Aquatic Center in Northwest. Nearly 700 swimmers from around the country will converge on the District to compete in the nation€s premier Black Swim Meet sponsored by the United Black Fund and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.

€The meet has matured from being a fun meet to a competitive meet with swimmers posting national age group times.€ said the District€s Head Coach Rodger McCoy.

€We have had to institute time standards for some of the events to keep pace with the level of competition,€ he said.
Some of the clubs that will compete include the Atlanta Dolphins, the New Rochelle YMCA, the Detroit Department of Recreation, the Newark Pirahana's, the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, Curl-Burke Swim Club, Rockville Municipal Swim Club, Baltimore Aquatic Club and the Machine of Virginia.

The District of Columbia's DC Wave Swim Team will send 85 swimmers to this weekend's competition.
€Our kids are looking forward to swimming fast and competing against some of the top minority swimmers in the country,€ McCoy said. €They want to show their mettle against the best.€

Some of the local swimmers to watch are in the boys€ 13-14 age bracket. Jared Miller (DCPR) will compete in the 200 back, 500 free, 100 back, 100 free and 50 free.

€When he first started swimming, Jared was scared to put his face in the water,€ McCoy said. €He has come a long way since then.€

Jared participated in the Jubilee Swim Meet in January in Cary, N.C. The meet featured some of the top swimmers in the South.
In the girls€15-18 age bracket, Marissa Gentry from the Rockville Swim Club is entered in the 100 free, 50 free, 200 back and 100 back. Gentry has also participated at the junior national level.

Aliyah Sola (DCPR) girls€ 13-14, will be swimming the 100 butterfly, 200 free, 50 free and 200 individual medley (IM). Aliyah, an outstanding student who attends Washington Latin Public Charter School in Northwest, has been selected as an ambassador in the Person-to-Person student exchange program.

€She is one of the hardest workers at practice [with eight practice sessions a week],€ McCoy said.

Kai Waller (DCPR) will swim the 200 breast and the 100 breast in the girls€ 13-14 age bracket. Jalyn Robinson, 13-14, of the Rockville Swim Club will swim the 100 fly, 500 free, 100 back and 100 free. Robinson has also traveled with the Potomac Valley All Stars to participate in the Eastern Zone Competition in Buffalo, N.Y. Kay Holley (DCPR) will swim in the girls€ 11-12 100 free.
In the girls€ 9-10 age bracket, Alyssa Evans and Niytte D. Johnson will be featured in the 100 free.

Sidney Horton (DCPR) will swim in the boys€ 11-12 age bracket, 100 IM, 50 free and 50 back. Jon Bendana (DCPR), last year's eight and under high point winner, will swim the 100 IM, 50 free and 100 fly.

The first session starts on Fri., Feb.12 at the Takoma Aquatic Center, 300 Van Buren Street, N.W., at 5:30 p.m. The first session on Saturday starts at 7 a.m. The second session will start at 1p.m. The first session on Sunday starts at 7 a.m. The second session begins at noon.

€It€s exciting and fun packed and a social event as much as as it is a swim meet,€ McCoy said.