The oldest swimming record at Howard University just got taken down twice in less than 24 hours by two different freshmen.
On Friday against American University, Kali Garcia clocked a 10:54.20 in the women’s 1000 freestyle to reset the school record set by recent Howard Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Camille Chatoor back in 1988. Garcia shaved more than three seconds off her season best, but she still touched nearly 14 slower than her personal best from February of 2019.
The 1000 free school record, which had previously stood untouched for 34 years, lasted less than a day before being broken by fellow freshman Zuzu Nwaeze, who went 10:42.36 to smash Garcia’s mark by nearly 12 seconds on Saturday against Virginia Military Institute.
The record-setting performance wasn’t exactly surprising as Nwaeze’s personal best in the 1000 free is a blazing 10:30.25 from the Maryland Senior Short Course Championships in February of 2020. She has already been named Northeast Conference (NEC) Rookie of the Week twice in the first month of her collegiate career.
Nwaeze also triumphed in the 500 free on Saturday with a time of 5:12.52. Garcia placed second in 5:18.69. On Friday, Nwaeze won the 200 fly with a time of 2:09.31 while also anchoring the winning 200 free relay team. Garcia won the 500 free in 5:17.20 on Friday.
As Garcia and Nwaeze inch closer to their lifetime bests and improve over the next four years, breaking the 1000 free school record might become a regular occurrence for Howard’s elite pair of first-year distance freestylers.
The Bison women lost to American on Friday, 150-93, before beating VMI on Saturday, 172-52. They’re 2-2 in dual meets so far this season, but the future is bright for head coach Nicholas Askew‘s crew.
Howard has been the only historically Black college (HBCU) with a swim program since 2016, when North Carolina A&T disbanded its team.