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Mayor Bowser and DPR Hosts 33rd Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet

Friday, February 15, 2019

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


(Washington, DC)  Nearly 1,300 swimmers will make a splash at the only swim event that commemorates Black History Month, when Mayor Muriel Bowser hosts the 33rd Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) on February 15 - 17, 2019, at the Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren St., NW).

"In addition to celebrating Black History Month, this meet gives young swimmers of color the rare and unique opportunity to compete other serious competitive swimmers that look like them,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Each year I am in awe of our young residents and the other young swimmers that come to the District to showcase their talents in this competition."

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 in the World."

“It is an honor to host such a historic event at a DPR facility,” said Acting DPR Director Delano Hunter.  “This event means so much to the minority swim culture around the world and continues to impact so many youth, 33 years later.”

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 Howard University swimming and diving head coach Nicholas Askew. Askew first came to Howard University after receiving swimming and tennis scholarships. He would go on to break several records in the pool at Howard including becoming a six-time conference champion and receiving the "Most Valuable Player" honor three times. Howard University is the only Historically Black College or University with a Division I swim and dive team and Askew is going into his fifth season. Under Askew, Howard has broken 35 school records in both men's and women's competition.

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 33rd Black History Invitational Swim Meet.

NOTE: All DPR facilities (including all aquatic centers) will be closed on Monday, February 18, 2019, in observance of Presidents’ Day.


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.