The ban on “soul caps” spotlights the lack of swimming diversity | Sports

Tokyo — Alice Dearing has an afro, voluminous puff that is almost impossible to protect with most swim caps. Her hair shrinks when it gets wet. And chlorine? Chemicals in the pool can cause serious damage that requires considerable time and money to treat.

The first black female swimmer of the British Olympic team used a soul cap, an oversized silicone cover specially designed to protect dreadlocks, weaves, hair extensions, braids and thick, curly hair. I am. However, Deering is banned from using caps at his Olympic debut in the Women’s 10k Marathon Swimming next week.

FINA, which oversees FINA, has filed an application from a British manufacturer of soul caps for use at the Tokyo Olympics because of previous cases where swimmers needed “caps of such size and composition”. I refused. I also wondered if the cap could create benefits by blocking the flow of water.

On social media and black swimming circles, protests were quick and conversations lasted for days. NS The petition has begun, and Cap’s ambassador and co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, Deering, has publicly expressed disappointment.

For colored people, this was more than a ban on swimming caps. Rejecting it represents yet another fraud.

Five years have passed since Rio Game, when Simone Manuel of the United States became the first black female swimmer to win the Olympic gold medal. Since then, there has been little rise in color swimmers at elite levels.

Dear Sir, Zimbabwe’s Donta Katai is the first black swimmer to represent her country. And at almost every competition at the international level, color swimmers are very rare. There are only two black women on the US team, Manuel and Natalie Hines.

Those familiar with the situation say that the reason for the shortage, and the racism behind it, is deep in history.

Neither Manuel nor Hind understand the dismissal of the Soul Cap. Both Americans are sponsored by other companies that make caps to protect their hair, but caps made by black-owned companies, especially to help color swimmers, are illegal. I was disappointed.

“It doesn’t do its best for the inclusiveness of the sport,” Manuel said.

The sparse relationship between blacks and water dates back long ago. During the era of racism in the United States, black swimmers were locked out of the pool. Those that allowed color swimmers were often unsafe and ignored.

Claire Cisco King, an associate professor of communication studies at Vanderbilt University and editor of women’s studies, said: International Communication Journal.

For King, accessibility to public pools is another barrier, and wealth inequality often makes it impossible to access expensive sports such as swimming. She said the ban on soul caps was “a risk of perpetuating the racist assumption that black athletes do not belong to the sport of swimming.”

According to the American Swimming Foundation, 64% of black children do not know how to swim, compared to 40% of white American children. In addition, 79% of children in American families with an annual income of less than $ 50,000 do not know how to swim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1999 and 2010, blacks had a significantly higher rate of fatal unintentional drowning than white swimmers. For every white child between the ages of 5 and 18 who drowned, 5.5 black children drowned.

Danielle Obe co-founded the Black Swimming Association with Dearing shortly after Christmas Eve in 2019 drowned his father and two children during his vacation in Spain.

“We thought we had to do something for our community,” said Mr. Obe. After a conversation with Swimming World magazine, she discovered that 95% of black adults in London weren’t swimming and 80% of black children had graduated from primary school where they couldn’t swim yet.

Mr. Obe said as follows. “The only way to increase Alice Dearing in the pool is for Alice to be black and need to reduce 95% of the 5% underwater, not underwater.”

Dear One, is one of the black swimmers who balances the love of water with the difficulty of protecting hair.

Most suspects suspect that Deering knits Afro hair into cornrows to use a cap approved for marathon swimming, but Deering used a soul cap. .. It was created by classmates Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman who didn’t learn how to swim until their late twenties.

“There was always the perception that swimming wasn’t for blacks. My mom doesn’t swim, Michael’s mom doesn’t swim, none of our friends swim,” Ahmed said. — We need to learn how to swim. “

Women in the class struggled to put a swimming cap on their heads, which inspired the idea of ​​a soul cap.

“They wondered why we didn’t have a swim cap made to accommodate more voluminous hair and afro textures and larger hair,” Ahmed said. “We talked to mom and sister, but for fairness, the big barrier to swimming is the fact that the hair is wet and there is no working cap.”

What they thought was a niche product was so favorable that the duo realized that “we are offering something that fills the gap and removes barriers to women and children who don’t want to swim.” I received feedback.

In 2017, we raised 150 oversized black caps and 60 Burgundy caps with our own funds and are currently ordering about 25,000 caps. The cap started with two discreet colors. Then they were contacted by an open water swimmer who needed a lighter shade. Then there was a question from a swimmer who didn’t have a complete afro and wanted a smaller size cap.

The attention generated by the federation’s refusal was effective, but Deering couldn’t talk about it. Her team did not accept comments until the end of the August 4th tournament.

Manuel and Hind are part of the 4x100m freestyle relay that won the bronze medal, and four-time medalist Manuel made history when he won the gold medal in the 100m freestyle in Rio.

The success of black swimmers can be a factor in change, but it also requires specific steps to generate more interest and opportunity, says former black swimmer Shontell Cargill. I did. She is currently the Therapist and Assistant Clinic Director at Thriveworks in Cumming, Georgia.

“Because of the discriminatory and isolated past of swimming, black families have been taught to fear swimming instead of accepting it,” Cargill said.

FINA is currently in talks with SoulCap and said in a statement that it would review the application later this year. The Governing Body “understands the importance of inclusiveness and expression,” and product reviews similar to Soulcap “aimed to ensure that there were no barriers to participation in the sport of swimming. It’s part of a wide range of initiatives. “And important life skills. “

“We are fully aware of the cultural issues raised by Soulcap and are considering the process,” said Brent, FINA’s American Nomination Secretary-General, in June. -Mr. Nowicki said on Saturday.

Ahmed feels encouraged after a conversation with Nowicki, who said he was “extremely apologized for how the application was handled.”

“If you have more representatives at that level and more representatives in the approval process, someone says,’Hey, there are people out there who want to swim competitively but don’t want to, so think about this.'” I think it’s proof that you might have said that you might cut your hair short and don’t want to compromise. ” “It just gives people choice.”

The ban on “soul caps” spotlights the lack of swimming diversity | Sports

Source link The ban on “soul caps” spotlights the lack of swimming diversity | Sports

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