Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Athlete Profile: Justin Lynch

It's not the intent of this blog to highlight the many accolades of the black community, because I do realize that everything is not about race; however, every now and then, I do feel the need to do so, especially when it comes to minorities in sports and academia.

As a swimmer hailing from a swim team owned by a black woman, I've always been exposed to a diverse group of swimmers. A plethora of them were black and were BEAST in the pool. For this very reason, I'm completely shocked when I meet people in 2014, who really don't believe that black people actually do swim. Just imagine the look on people's faces when I tell them I'm a swimmer ('But you're b...built differently..") Honestly, that type of ignorance breaks my heart, especially when it's projected on young athletes. However, little by little, we are dominating in areas the world expects us to not excel in, such as swimming, which warms my little swimmer's heart.

This brings me to talk briefly about 16 year young Justin Lynch from Vallejo, California, taking the swim world by storm. Last year at the Phillips 66 National Championship meet, he dominated the Men's 100 butterfly, beating Michael Phelps' standing record of 52.98 with 52.75. We all know who Phelps is, but in case you didn't know, even a 100th of a second is huge according to swim time. Swimmers work extremely hard to shave a second off of their personal best record, so it's pretty major that he is technically faster than the fastest swimmer in the world.  

Ironically enough, the articles I've read about him don't state the obvious, that he's black, so I will. There are more to mention, such as Simone Manuel, Cullen Jones, Maritza Correia-McClendon, and a myriad of local age group swimmers who are also black and just as great as the ones that came before them.  Not that labels matter, but it makes me really proud to see black people working hard in their respective fields and rising to levels, where they are often overshadowed or discredited. It's phenomenal that a young black boy whose parent(s) encourages basketball and football as oppose to swimming, has leaders who looks like him to be an example. Yes, America, black people DO swim.

A bright future awaits Justin Lynch and I cannot wait to see how well he performs in Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, because that's definitely where he's headed. 

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