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34th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet and Aquatic Center Closures

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

DPR Aquatics Office: (202) 671-1289

DPR Media Contact: Michael Tucker Jr., (202) 717-4242, [email protected]


(Washington, DC) Nearly 1,100 swimmers will compete at one of the longest-running minority swim meets in the world, when Mayor Muriel Bowser hosts the 34th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) on February 14 - 16, 2020, at the Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St., NW).


The Black History Invitational Swim Meet was founded in 1987 by DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the United Black Fund, Inc. (UBF) 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.


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 the World."


“For more than three decades, the Black History Invitational Swim Meet event has positively impacted diversity in swimming across the country,” said DPR Director Delano Hunter. “It’s an honor for the District to host and showcase our world class parks system.”


The three-day annual event, jointly produced by DPR and UBF, attracts 40 swim teams from across the United States and Canada. Swimmers compete in standard swim events, such as the individual medley, freestyle, butterfly, relays, and back and breast strokes.


The BHISM honoree for this year will be four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming in 2016. She is also the only American woman to win both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle at the World Championships. In 2019, the 23-year-old swimmer was named Female Athlete of the Year at the Golden Goggle Awards. Manuel is also a USA Swimming Foundation ambassador working to encourage more minorities to learn to swim.


Select DPR Aquatic Centers will close for the 34th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet:

Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St., NW) will close on Thursday, February 13 at noon. Takoma Aquatic Center will serve as the host site for the BHISM and will be closed for public swimming through Monday, February 17, 2020.

Wilson Aquatic Center (4551 Fort Drive. NW), Barry Farm Aquatic Center (1230 Sumner Rd., SE), and HD Woodson Aquatic Center (540 55th St. NE) will be open for public swim only (no classes will be held) during their normal operating hours on Friday, February 14 through Sunday, February 16, 2020.

All other DPR aquatic centers will be closed starting on Friday, February 14 and will reopen on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

NOTE: All DPR facilities (including all aquatic centers) will be closed on Monday, February 17, 2020, in observance of Presidents’ Day.



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