Beyond The Lane Lines: Former Tennessee Swimmer Starts Adaptive Clothing Line

Get your news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’  With each edition, we collect personal stories, little known facts, and general items of interest from around the world. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 Former Tennessee Swimmer Creates Adaptive Fashion Line

Mary Cayten Brakefield may have wrapped up her swimming career as a University of Tennessee Lady Vol, but she is just getting started on her post-pool legacy. The multi-SEC Academic Honor Roll earner has created a new fashion line with her mother while attending graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Named Brakefields LLC, the project’s clothing is aimed at filling the unique needs of those living with disabilities. Brakefield herself was diagnosed with a genetic mutation last spring and spent some time in a wheelchair. (10 News)

“As much as I talk to people and as much research as I do, there are still things you don’t think about until you’re living it,” said Brakefield of her experience.

“In the general population we all have very different bodies anyway, and then when you include disability or illness or injury, anything like that, the needs for fashion change.”

For example, with buttons, zippers and other closures sometimes posing a challenge, Brakefield has incorporated Velcro and magnets. Additionally, the former swimmer takes into account the sensitivities to certain fabrics that some disabled people can have.

Brakefield was awarded $10,000 in seed funding through the 2020 Boyd Venture Challenge, an annual grant competition for UT student-created start-ups. According to 10 News, she will be using the funds for market research and possible patent funding, with the hope her line of clothing will be available for sale within the next year.

“It’s gonna be awesome one day when all retailers understand that adaptive fashion is worthwhile and provides options for all of these customers,” said Brakefield.

#2 Cornell University Suspends Swim Test

Cornell University has been requiring a swim test for graduation for nearly a century, but this year the school will be suspending the requisite.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Spring 2020 graduates were exempt from the swimming requirement, and the University will also be waiving the test for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 graduates as well. Under normal circumstances, the university requires that students learn to swim because drowning is a leading cause of death in the United States. (CNY Central)

“If we teach people how to swim and make it a life skill, that will in some ways help to break the cycle of parents who do not know how to swim and therefore do not encourage their children to learn to swim,” the university’s physical education website reads. “Fear of the water, although unpleasant, can almost always be overcome.”

#3 Ghana Celebrates World Aquatic Day

On July 18th, the Ghana Swimming Association (GSA) celebrated World Aquatic Day with special celebrations at the Media Center of the Accra Sports Stadium. Instituted by FINA, the event has been celebrated in the Western African nation since 2018.

This year’s event focused on water safety, learn-to-swim, and training schedules for swimmers during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 20 swimming coaches took part in the event.

President of the GSA, Theo Wilson Edzie, commented on the event, “We use water for many things, apart from swimming, hence it should be preserved and cherished.

“Water sports brings out competition as well as entertainment out of people. It also brings about unity and friendship which the world needs to develop.

#4 Hangzhou 2022 Promo Video Released

The next edition of the Asian Games is set for 2022 in Hangzhou, China. The quadrennial event brings out the best in Asian swimming talent, with past performers having included Sun Yang, Kosuke Hagino, Daiya Seto, and the 2018 MVP, Rikako Ikee.

With just over two years to go until the Hangzhou edition, organizers have produced and released a promotional film to generate excitement for the prestigious event.

Per Hangzhou 2022, “Since 2019, HAGOC and AINAGOC have been working closely together on the joint promotional film through online and offline discussions plus site research. Leveraging the Asian Games as the basis for win-win benefits, the two cities strive to expand the economic and cultural cooperation.

“The film helps to lay a solid foundation for communication and cooperation between HAGOC and AINAGOC. The release of the film is to not only promote the reputations of both cities in Asia and around the world, but also to carry forward the Olympic Spirit.”

You can view the Hangzhou 2022 promo video here.

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1 month ago

Wow! Congrats Mary, that is incredible and such a great service to many people in need of functional clothing.

Also, I never knew Cornell never did a swimming test. That is very cool! It’s such an important life skill. Sad that it won’t happen this year, but happy I learned about it!

Old Swimmer
1 month ago

Wow! Congratulations to Mary for creating such a great clothing line. Mary people will appreciate this! Go Vols!

Ian/Grant Mom
1 month ago

Awesome job, MC!!!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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