NC A&T Says ‘Goodbye’ to Swim Team
N.C. A&T State University’s swim team met its season end when they were defeated by rival HBCU Howard University on Saturday.
The nation’s only all-Black NCAA Division I swim program succumbed to Howard with a final score of 110-87.
“We swam our hearts out,” 22-year-old Victoria Orr, co-captain for the Aggies said of the final regular season meet.
“It was bittersweet and sad, also. But I think everyone enjoyed it. We even had an alumni race. That was fun because that will be the last time they swim in the pool, too.”
The university is disbanding the swim program to focus on sports that can win Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championships.
As part of the plan, A&T is reinstating Men’s Tennis and adding Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf and Women’s Soccer.
The cut will leave Howard University as the only institution among the nation’s 100-plus HBCUs with an NCAA Division I swimming and diving program.
A&T’s team has served as a myth-buster, according to its members. They say the squad shattered falsehoods that Blacks cannot swim and that African-American women, in particular, want nothing to do with the sport because the water would mess up their hair.
“Black girls swim!” Orr declared. “A lot of people, when they hear I’m an athlete, the first thing they say is, ‘Oh, basketball or volley ball?’ I tell them I swim. They stop in their tracks – ‘You swim? You get your hair wet?’ Black girls swim. I love it.”