The biggest swim meet in HBCU history is back for its second edition on Saturday, October 7, with tickets for “Battle at the Burr II” set to go on sale Tuesday.
Howard is once again hosting Washington D.C. rival Georgetown at Burr Gymnasium, which attracted 1,200 fans at the inaugural “Battle at the Burr” event last October. The dual meet made waves for its unmatched level of energy, between a poolside DJ, a dance troupe that managed to successfully perform without slipping, and overflow seating in the basketball gym, where another DJ awaited along with enormous TV screens broadcasting special-guest commentary.
The event sold out 2,000 tickets, but attendance ultimately was less than expected due to a storm coming up the East Coast that weekend. Still, it was a huge success — and this year’s follow-up effort could be even bigger after the Bison men captured their first Northeast Conference title in 34 years this past February. It was also the first season in program history where both the men and women’s squads finished with winning records.
The official press release this year promises “double the fanfare and double the fun, complete with a DJ, dancers, celebrity appearances and a few surprises that the team does not want to give away.” It’s a self-proclaimed “party with a purpose,” raising funds that should help the Bison replace outdated equipment and fund student scholarships.
“We’re here to showcase our teams, but also put competitive swimming and diving on the map,” said Howard head coach Nicholas Askew, who was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame on the night before the inaugural event last year. Georgetown won both of the matchups in 2022, (men 113-111, women 148-76), but Askew said the result solidified Howard’s mentality moving forward that “if we have a lane, we have a chance.”
In 2016, Howard became the last remaining HBCU school with a swim program after North Carolina A&T disbanded its team. Askew is one of only four Black coaches in men’s swimming and five in women’s swimming.
Like the Howard men, the Georgetown men also won a conference title in 2023, taking home their second Big East crown in a row by just 11 points ahead of Xavier. The Oct. 7 showdown marks the first dual meet of the season for both schools.
Tickets for “Battle at the Burr II” can be purchased starting Tuesday at https://howard.universitytickets.com.