Howard University

Howard swim team graces the cover of Sports Illustrated

Representation matters…Especially in the pool.

The Howard Bison etched their names in the history books for being the first all-Black HBCU collegiate swimming team to grace the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. 

Senior Raychel Fauntroy was overjoyed when she heard the Howard Bison would be highlighted. “I would’ve never thought we would be in there but we are and it warms my heart that now others can support and learn about our program while providing reassurance to those young black swimmers that it’s possible,” she told Hilltop News.

The Howard Bison continues to break records this season

Currently, the men’s team is 6-2, and the women’s team is 5-3 overall. Head Coach Nic Askew recruited swimmers from all over the world to create the dynamic Howard Bison. Now for the first time in 30 years, they have the chance to bring home the Northeast Conference title to Burr Gym Pool.


Swimming is very important to Howard’s culture. It now stands alone holding the torch for HBCU swim teams. Since 2014, Nic Askew made it his mission to show Black communities the unlimited opportunities swimming offers. “I stand before you as a Black man in America, in a sport that doesn’t look like me. To me, this drives home the reason that I am at Howard, and I have been called to this sport . . . to lead the only HBCU swimming and diving program, because that shouldn’t be the case. This world and this nation are full of opportunities, and opportunities should be for everyone,” Askew tells Sports Illustrated.

“Nobody in America can offer what we have in our pool,” said Head Coach Nic Askew to reporters.“Where else are you going to see this,” he continues. Where else are you going to have a live DJ, the Bisonettes dancing poolside, and a packed house where everyone, yes even the competing teams, “swag surfing” in celebration? This can only be experienced at an HBCU!


In a sport plagued by issues of representation, Howard University coach Nic Askew isn’t just building a strong program; he’s building something bigger.

♬ original sound – Sports Illustrated
Howard swim team graces the cover of Sports Illustrated
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