Tuesday, July 8, 2008

African American Swim Team Inspires "Pride"

Blue Dolphins Make History
Reposted from April 2007

The Blue Dolphin Swim Team has been a part of history since 2002 when it first splashed its way into the Bayview’s Martin Luther King Jr. pool as an outside-of-school program. The team is part of an Oakland-based league called the Black Star Line All-Star Swim Team that broke the color barrier in the sport, and is the inspiration for a major new movie: “Pride” starring Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac.

Before groups like Black Star and Blue Dolphin formed, African American youth faced a closed door when it came to competitive swimming. The community did not embrace the sport, historically, and the existing associations were inhospitable.

Now these community-based, volunteer efforts encourage all children who want to learn competitive swimming to jump in. Coached by founder Don Lane, The Blue Dolphin Swim Team involves 75 youth from the BVHP neighborhood.

“You can see the self-confidence and pride these young people develop by swimming with the team,” said James Ross. Ross is a Quesada Gardens Initiative co-founder, parent of two Blue Dolphin swimmers, and volunteer president of the Blue Dolphin organization. “I feel great that we’re making such a difference in their lives.”

In May, eight Blue Dolphin swimmers want to go to the 5th annual Black Heritage Swim Meet, a national competition in North Carolina, to pursue the sport of swimming at the highest level. $11,000 is needed to cover expenses, and donations are critically needed. If you can help, call James Ross at 415.822.7703 or Don Lang at 415.822.2315.

The traveling team needs your help!

1 comment:

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