The men’s swimming and diving team from Howard University won the Northeast Conference Championship in 2023, marking the team’s first victory in over 30 years.
Over the course of the five days of play in Geneva, Ohio, the Bison team scored 928 points, making up a 169-point lead over the remaining four teams. Teams from Wagner College, Long Island University, and St. Francis College in Brooklyn were defeated by Howard, one of the oldest historically black universities in the United States.
Miles Simon and Jordan Walker were also named outstanding swimmers and divers, respectively. “So, I guess seeing an all-black swim team win the conference championship shows that that number could be higher,” he told CNN.
Howard’s victory was hailed as historic and notable in a predominantly white sport. Although the team finished second in the tournament last year, Nicholas Askew, the director of swimming and diving at Howard, the only HBCU that has a swim program, clarified that they “weren’t satisfied” with it.
He stated that more initiatives like the one at the school are needed to boost representation. Long Island University finished second with 759 points, followed by St. Francis Brooklyn at 634 points and Wagner with 539 points, according to WTOP.
Months after their historic win, Howard finally received their rings recently. “We’re standing as a representation, especially to the Black and Brown community,” Askew told reporters. “Swimming can lead to so many different avenues, including a championship, which it has for us,” he said.
Askew earlier indicated that Howard University’s achievement dispels myths about the ability of black swimmers and demonstrates that HBCUs can compete in a sport where black athletes are lacking.
“There is that myth out there that blacks don’t swim and it’s something that we’re working desperately hard to overcome every single day,” Askew told WTOP.