“Black girls do swim”

America’s last all-black women’s college swim team hangs up caps

(Photo credit: North Carolina A&T athletics)

“There are about a hundred African American swimmers in the NCAA and I have 11 of them,” said Shawn Hendrix, the swim coach of North Carolina A&T’s women’s team in Greensboro. After the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association championships this weekend, her swimmers will hang up their caps for the last time and the program will end, leaving Howard University as the last of 105 historically black colleges in the United States that has a swim team — and their ranks are integrated.

A&T’s female swim team is all-black and proud of it, defying stereotypes through their sport and by using the motto “Black girls do swim,” according to a team profile by The Guardian. Budget cuts, low finishes at the All-NC Invitational and lack of support from other HBCUs and the division have all been cited as reasons for the program’s end.

“I’ve learned grace [from the team] as well. This year we went in knowing we couldn’t change what was inevitably going to happen. But what we could do is we could take this as a golden opportunity to be bold, and to educate and to lead by really demonstrating what true Aggie Pride is: leaving a legacy team, putting what we wanted to put in history and not many people get that opportunity to make history at their university,” said Coach Hendrix, who started at A&T in 1999. Her swimmers often won the award for highest cumulative GPA award of any team.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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