The men’s swimming and diving team at Howard University won the 2023 Northeast Conference Championship on Saturday, the team’s first title in more than 30 years, the school’s athletic department tweeted.
The all-Black swim team earned 928 points during five days of competition in Geneva, Ohio, surpassing four other teams by a margin of 169 points, according to the results posted on the Northeast Conference Championship’s website. Howard, one of the oldest historically Black universities in the US, defeated teams from Long Island University, St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and Wagner College.
The Bison team also saw additional awards at the competition, including Miles Simon being named outstanding swimmer and Jordan Walker named outstanding diver.
Howard’s win was described as historic and significant in a sport that is predominantly White.
Simon, a senior at Howard, told CNN that African American athletes represent a very small percent of competitive swimmers in America.
“So, I guess seeing an all-Black swim team win the conference championship shows that, that number could be higher,” Simon told CNN.
The team was a runner-up in the competition last year, but “weren’t satisfied” with that, according to Nicholas Askew, director of swimming & diving at Howard – the only swim program offered at an HBCU.
“Howard can’t be the only place, the only option because we only have so many roster spots. There are so many people we unfortunately can’t have at Howard to be able to swim,” Askew told CNN. “We are so glad to be able to see the success and so prayerful that it will be taken note of by the other HBCU’s to restart their program so we can no longer be the only HBCU.”