DPR Media Contact: John Stokes, (202) 288-7275
WASHINGTON, DC – The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will host the 26th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) to be held from Friday, February 17, 2012, through Sunday, February 19, 2012 at The Takoma Aquatic Facility, located at 300 Van Buren St., NW in Washington, DC. An Honoree’s Reception will take place on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12 noon. Invited guests include this year’s honoree, DPR Coach Rodger McCoy; DC Councilmembers including Ward 4 Counilmember Muriel Bowser; DPR Director Jesús Aguirre; Mr. Barry Lenoir, President of the United Black Fund; past BHISM honorees; event partners, sponsors, and dignitaries. The media is invited to attend the honoree’s reception, as well as all BHISM activities. The theme this year is “Ride the Wave” and during the three-day Invitational, sessions will take place from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Friday, February 17th and from 7 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday, February 18th and Sunday, February 19th. All events are open to the public and free of charge.
“DPR continues to highlight the benefits of swimming to our youth, particularly among minority communities,” stated DPR Director Jesús Aguirre. “We have placed an emphasis on early education regarding water safety, and our goal is to ensure that all children in the District of Columbia receive swimming lessons and water safety instruction at an early age.”
Hosted by DPR and the United Black Fund, Inc (UBF), the Black History Invitational Swim Meet was founded in 1987 by Dr. Calvin Rolark and Dr. William Rumsey. Their goals were to nourish self-reliance, determination, and the spirit of fair play for youth and parents. Over the years, the Black History Invitational Swim meet has provided urban youth, from across the nation, with a positive outlet and strong competition in the sport of competitive swimming. The BHISM is annual event that features over 30 swim teams from cities across the United States - including Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York. During the three-day Invitational, over 800 minority athletes (ranging from ages 8 – 18) compete in the standard swim events, including the Individual Medley, Freestyle, Butterfly, Back and Breast Strokes, and Relays. Now in its 26th year, the BHISM is hailed by hailed by USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming, as the “premier minority swim competition in the United States and in the world.”
This year, the 26th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet is proud to honor President and First Lady Obama with the UBF Outstanding Achievement Award as a part of the Invitational weekend. Other featured elements of the BHISM include the International Swimming Hall of Fame, featuring twenty-two historic moments in Black Swimming History. DPR and UBF are also proud to welcome back our Program Partners - Potomac Valley Swimming and Diversity in Aquatics – as well as all of our Program Sponsors.
Since 1989, the Black History Invitational Swim Meet selects courageous and notable African Americans to be honored and recognized during the Invitational. Previous honorees include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (posthumous); Dr. Dorothy I. Height; and 2008 U.S. Olympic Gold medalist, Cullen Jones. This year’s honoree for the 26th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet is Coach Rodger McCoy.
Coach Rodger McCoy
Coach Rodger McCoy has been the Senior Coach for the DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) Competitive Aquatics Program since the early 1980’s; and for over 20 years, Coach McCoy has trained, coached and mentored over 50,000 students ranging in age from 3 years of age, to 103. Coach, as he is affectionately called, has served on the coaching staff of Potomac Valley (PV) Swimming Distance and Racing Camps; as a staff member on the PV Zone Team; and for over 10 years he has served as Head Coach for the U.S. Swimming National Age Group and Select Camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.
Coach McCoy has coached all ages of swimmers, however the work that he has done with the nationally competitive Youth Teams - DC Wave and Takoma Park DC – have made both teams a force to be reckoned with “in the lane” and have put DC, as well as DPR, on the map when it comes to producing top notch, competitive swimmers. Coach McCoy has been mentioned in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine’s feature article on the Tatum Brothers, who were coached by Coach McCoy. He was also instrumental in the creation of the first Black History Invitational Swim Meet and has been a part of the event since it’s inception. Through his efforts, the event has grown into a national event that swim teams from across the nation return to year after year, competing against the best swimmers from across the U.S. After 20+ years in the sport of swimming, Coach McCoy continues to reach back to his community, encourage his students, and is a shining role model of how to give to others.
For more information on the 26th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) call DPR Aquatics at (202) 671-1289 or visit www.DCBlackHistorySwim.com. Information on DPR programs and events can be found on our website, DPR.DC.GOV, or on Twitter, @DCDPR.