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“Splash into History” 32nd Black History Invitational Swim Meet with Cullen Jones

Thursday, February 15, 2018

DPR Aquatics Office: (202) 671-1289
DPR Media Contacts:
Michael Tucker Jr., (202) 717-4242, [email protected]
Gregory Jackson Jr., (202) 714-9550, [email protected]


(Washington, DC) – Nearly 1300 swimmers will “Splash Into History” when DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosts the 32nd Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) with featured guest Olympic gold medal swimmer Cullen Jones on February 16 - 18, 2018, at the Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St., NW).

The Black History Invitational Swim Meet was founded with the mission of providing urban youth nationwide age 5-18 a positive outlet for expression, exposure to strong competition, a forum to meet positive role models, and the opportunity to visit the Nation's Capital.

Co-founded in 1987 by DPR and the United Black Fund, Inc. (UBF), BHISM is the only swim event in celebration of Black History Month. What began as a small, local competition is now recognized 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."

The three-day annual event, jointly produced by DPR and UBF, has attracted 40 swim teams this year from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, New York and other metropolitan areas in the United States. They will compete in standard swim events, such as the individual medley, freestyle, butterfly, relays, and back and breast strokes.

Following the first day swims, there is a BHISM reception with Olympian Cullen Jones as the guest speaker on Friday, February 16th at 5:30 p.m. at Takoma Recreation Center. Jones, in 2008 became the second African-American swimmer in history to gold medal in the Olympics, as part of the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team in Beijing.

This BHISM honoree at the reception will be Cecil Gordon. He is the first African American to be selected to represent the United States as an official swim starter at the Olympics. A longtime volunteer official with USA Swimming, he has officiated such top competitions as Senior Championships, SEC Championships, US Olympic Trials, FINA World Championships, and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Gordon is also the first African American to serve as the Director of USA Swimming Foundation, which serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming, a 400,000-member service organization.

This event is free and open to public. For more information about BHISM, please visit dpr.events.

Select DPR Aquatic Centers will close for the 32nd Black History Invitational Swim Meet.

NOTE: All DPR facilities (including all aquatic centers) will be closed on Monday, February 19, 2018, in observance of Presidents’ Day.

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About DPR

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) provides quality urban recreation and leisure services for residents and visitors to the District of Columbia. DPR supervises and maintains area parks, community facilities, swimming pools and spray parks, and neighborhood recreation centers. The agency also coordinates a wide variety of recreation and educational programs including sports leagues, youth development, therapeutic recreation, aquatic programming, outdoor adventure, camping, and senior citizen activities. Adaptive programs and facilities are available for persons with disabilities.