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DPR to Host the 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet

Monday, February 9, 2015
Swim Teams to"Mark Your Place in History" at National Event

DPR Customer Service:  (202) 673-7647
DPR Aquatics Office: (202) 671-1289
DPR Media Contacts: 
Brian Armstead, (202) 746-2092, [email protected]
Rachel Newman, (202) 340-2910, [email protected]


(WASHINGTON, DC) – The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will host the 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) to be held from Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15, 2015, at DPR's Takoma Aquatic Center located at 300 Van Buren Street, NW - Washington, DC 20012.  Takoma will close at 12 noon on Thursday, February 12 in order to prepare for the BHISM, and will reopen to the public on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. 

This year's theme is “Mark Your Place in History." A total of 762 youth athletes from 27 teams will participate from the District of Columbia, the island of St. Lucia and 9 states including: Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; in this three-day, highly competitive, national swim meet.  An Honoree’s Reception will take place on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 12 noon inside the Takoma Community Center (next door to the aquatic center).

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; 2008 U.S. Olympic Gold medalist, Cullen Jones; and DPR's Coach Rodger McCoy.  The 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet honoree is Justin Lynch, a freshman at the University of California at Berkeley.  Mr. Lynch is a talented swimmer who made headlines in 2013 when he broke Olympic medalist Michael Phelps' 100 meter butterfly (15-16 age) with a time of 52.72.  Lynch's mark topped Phelps' mark of 52.98 that had stood for 12 years.  He is a member of the National Junior Team, won a silver and bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships in Dubai, won a gold and silver medal at the 2013 Junior Nationals and is a member of UC Berkeley's Terrapins Swim Team.  Invited guests to this year's honoree reception include: honoree Justin Lynch, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor Brenda Donald, past BHISM honorees, event partners, sponsors, city officials and dignitaries.


“This is the 29th year that young athletes from across the nation unite at one of the premier aquatics invitational swim meets in the country," said Interim Director Keith Anderson. "This year's theme, 'Mark Your Place in History,' is an effective play on words, as it not only indicates the readiness our young athletes must have as they prepare for this meet, it also inspires them to make their own history through individual and team achievement."


Hosted by DPR, USA Swimming and the United Black Fund, Inc. (UBF), the BHISM was founded in 1987 by Dr. Calvin Rolark and Dr. William H. Rumsey.  Their goals were to nourish self-reliance, determination, and the spirit of fair play for youth and parents.  Over the years, the BHISM has provided a positive outlet and strong competition in the sport of competitive swimming for urban youth.  Year after year, the BHISM features, on average, 30 swim teams and 775 swimmers from cities across the United States.  During the three-day Invitational, youth athletes ranging in age from 5 – 18 will compete in standard swim events, such as the individual medley, freestyle, butterfly, relays, and back and breast strokes.  Now in it's 29th year, the BHISM is 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.”   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.

The 29th Annual BHISM schedule is as follows and can be found on the BHISM website page:

  • Thursday, February 12 - Volunteer Briefing.  If you would like to volunteer, go to http://bit.ly/BHISM2015 to fill out the volunteer application and a member of DPR's BHISM team will contact you.
  • Friday, February 13
      - Session 1 (13 & over) : Warm up - 7 am to 7:45 am | First event: 8 am  | Coaches meeting:  7:45 am
      - Session 2 (12 & under): Warm up - 1 pm to 1:45 pm | First event: 2 pm | Coaches meeting: 1:45 pm
  • Saturday, February 14
      - Session 3 (13 & over) : Warm up - 7 am to 8 am | First event: 8 am
      - Honoree Awards Reception: 12 noon (Open to the Press)
      - Session 4 (12 & under): Warm up - 1 pm to 1:45 pm | First event: 2 pm
  • Sunday, February 15
      - Session 5 (13 & over) : Warm up - 7 am to 7:45 am | First event: 8 am | High Point Award Ceremony: 12:30 pm
      - Session 6 (12 & under): Warm up - 1 pm to 1:45 pm | First event: 2 pm | High Point Award Ceremony: At the conclusion of Session 6 (the last session of the day)


Please note that while the meet is open to the public and free of charge, only swim teams, coaches, media and BHISM staff will be allowed on the pool deck.  All patrons and parents must remain on the observation deck. 

Two pools will remain open for public use during the BHISM weekend.  Wilson Aquatic Center and Barry Farm Aquatic Center will remain open on Friday, February 13; Saturday, February 14; and Sunday, February 15.  All other DPR aquatic facilities will be closed on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15 as aquatics staff will assist at the meet.  All facilities will be closed on Monday, February 16, 2015 in observance of the President's Day holiday.

For more information on the 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet, please visit the BHISM webpage or call (202) 671-1289; and be sure to use the hashtag #BHISM2015 and follow us @DCDPR on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook


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