Black Hair, Black Swimmers and the Olympics

“So many people in my family did not learn how to swim because, you know, their hair wouldn’t stay straight, or it’d be too unruly, or whatever,” said Erin Adams, a doctor who grew up swimming in the South Central Swimming League in Los Angeles and later competed as a Division 1 swimmer at Columbia University. In an article in the New York Times, “How a Ban on a Swim Cap Galvanized Black Swimmers”
African American swimmers talk about the barriers to entering the sport. Then, once they enter and even grow to dominating in their field, hair management and swim cap regulations as dictated by bodies such as  International Swimming Federation (FINA) can be incompatible. In fact, cultural insensitivity in bans on caps made for afro-textured hair, are part of the equation.

Black swimmers are making huge strides to progress in their sport and raise awareness about the issue of hair and swimming.



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