No Person Is An Island Unto Themselves
It is an amazing and eye opening experience when you have the chance to work with people who have similar goals! This year, I invited my friends, Adrienne Wesley, owner of Swim Life Fitness, LLC & Swim Coach (@coachadriennelakate) and Noelle Singleton (@afroswimmwers), Creator of Afro Swimmers, Aquatic Director, Water Safety Instructor, and Coach to speak and attend the 2019 Diversity In Aquatics (DIA) Convention. I believe that it was a great opportunity to increase our efforts in exposing people to the benefits of safe participation and engagement in aquatic activities. After the convention, we continued the conversation of the importance of learning water safety skills, especially among African Americans. We thought that it would be a great idea to attend the 17th National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet (NBHCSM) in Cary, NC. We were all excited to attend for the first time and to meet more swimmers and aquatic professional who looked like us! Because in real life.... the "Black Swim World" is small, so whenever I have the chance to meet more black swimmers, I am there! The NBHCSM was such a great experience, with over 1100 swimmers from 19 states, it was the largest swim meet in its history!
The NC Aquablazers were the host of the NBHCSM and were so open and hospitable! We were told about the rich history of the meet, introduced to so many people, and made connection that have the potential to grow and grow! There was good competition, good food (that fish fry though!!) , and good music (the DJ played Nipsey Hussle ya'll!!). This swim meet felt like a Homecoming! We also had the opportunity to meet Ms. Jazmin-Rose (@thejazminrose) and her family at the meet and present her with her #IAmWaterSafety Swag Bag!! She even received some tips on how to dive from Coach Adrienne!
This was also a great opportunity for all of us (especially the young swimmers) to meet many former college swimmers and coaches. 3-time Bahamian Olympian, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was also in attendance at the meet is such a great experience meeting her! There were many black-owned companies, such as Black Kids Swim and CulturedGEAR that specialize in products that swimmers can benefit from!
Overall, attending this swim meet was an amazing experience and plan to attend next year!! Seeing all those young black swimmers was priceless and beyond inspirational. I look forward to more positive connections in the future!!
Remember to stay safe and aware in the water and most of all... Have Fun!!!
Dr. Asherah Allen