DC ready to host the world’s ‘largest minority swim meet’

WASHINGTON — While Olympic athletes are on the ski slopes and the ice in South Korea, young swimmers are back in the pool at the Takoma Aquatic Center in Northwest D.C.

Sunday brings the final rounds of the 32nd annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet.

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“This is the largest minority swim meet, not only in the country but in the world,” said John Stokes, deputy director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, the department that conducts the meet.

More than 1,300 kids ages 5 through 18 from across the country have come to D.C. to take part in the weekend event that spans three days.

“You see all the bleachers filled. All around the pool kids are stacked up ready to compete … The great Takoma facility is known across the nation as a place where young people, children of color especially, are here to swim and compete and introduce them to a sport that can take them through their life time,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser as she surveyed the 17-lane, 50-meter pool and the elevated spectator bleachers.

The meet was co-founded by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and the United Black Fund, which was established by the late publishers and community leaders Calvin and Wilhelmina Rolark, a former member of the DC Council, representing ward eight.

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