Howard University‘s Swim and Dive Team has made history with its first championship in 34 years.
The only all-black college swim team took home the 2023 title of the Northeast Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving champions on Saturday in Geneva, Ohio, after finishing in second last year.
“It’s the first conference title for our men’s program in 34 years, and it feels amazing,” said Nicholas Askew, coach of Howard’s swimming and diving team. “It just feels phenomenal to know that there’s this group of young men and young women who believed that it was possible, even when we were first getting started and all kinds of things were not going our way.”
It was a successful weekend for Howard’s Swimming and Diving team as they racked up an impressive amount of awards.
Olympic Trials qualifier Miles Simon broke the meet record in the 200-meter individual medley and was named the NEC Outstanding Swimmer, while Jordan Walker was named Outstanding Diver for the 47-member squad.
The swimming staff was also recognized as the NEC Swimming Staff of the Year for the second season in a row. In addition, diving coach Courtenay Miller received the conference’s Outstanding Dive Staff honor.
The Howard swim and dive team’s historic win comes after they recently made history as the first all-Black swim team featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Although the historic moment for the team was important to Askew, he noted that overall support for HBCU athletic programs is “crucial” for their survival.
“We talk about being the only HBCU [with a swim team], but that comes with a warning tag. We don’t want to be a program that’s cut because, even as a competitive program, NCAA swimming is the number one to cut sports and in all of athletics,” Askew said. “We have to be very careful as to the support financially being in the stands, being able to send words of encouragement to the young men and women who are part of the program, as well as to administration.”