GOING FOR IT: Culver City teenager Raleah Cole is a scholar-athlete and competing for the Royal Swim Team. Last week she captured first place in the 50-meter freestyle in South Gate, and with goals of attending Stanford and making the Olympics she is well on her way. (Sentinel File Photo)
teenage swimmer achieving in classroom and pool
A staggering 80 percent of African Americans are considered as not competent swimmers, therefore when Blacks achieve any measure of success in swimming competition it is a significant achievement.
Several years ago Los Angeles Dodgers general manager-the late Al Campannis- lost his job because he publically stated that Blacks lacked to buoyancy to be good swimmers.
However there are some Blacks who have defied those insurmountable odds in a sport dominated by whites.
In 1990, Alison terry of San Diego became the first Black female swimmer to qualify for the United States National team.
Twelve years later in 2002, Maritza Correia broke two American and NCAA records in the 50-yard freestyle. Correia was also the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic swim team in 2004.
Most recently Cullen Jones splashed his way into the world record books becoming the first Black to hold a world record by swimming a leg of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.
The aforementioned accomplishments did not completely change the racial bias in swimming, but Culver City teenager Raleah Cole is potentially yet another candidate for success in the swimming pool.
Cole, who attends Culver City Middle School, is 13-years old and is one of two Blacks competing on the local Royals Swim team of Culver City and is doing more than holding her own.
Last September she was among eight Royal swimmers to participate in the competitive Navy Seal Fitness Challenge.
Cole finished among the top 21 swimmers in the meet and earlier in 2013, she earned an impressive 18th place finish the JCA BRW LC meet in Torrance. Cole swims the 50-meter freestyle.
Competing and excelling on a recognized swim team is not the only thing impressive about Cole. She is also a high academic achiever in the classroom.
Cole received a Scholarship League award from Culver City Middle School for maintaining an above 3.0 grade point average for the first quarter of 2013-2014.
What is even more remarkable about Cole is that she has only been swimming for just more than a year and has already developed all four major strokes.
Last week in South Gate, Cole won first place against eight competitors in the 50-meter freestyle.
“She is just naturally talented,” said her father Robert Cole.
“She walked onto the team swimming all four strokes.”
She has aspirations of attending Stanford University and someday qualifying for the United States Olympic team, and she is well on her way to those lofty goals and perhaps much more.