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Metro Parks swimmer goes to D.C. for Black History Invitational meet

March 7, 2018

A member of the Metro Parks Tacoma Aquatics Team competed in the nation’s capital at the Black History Invitational Swim Meet over President’s Day weekend.

Saniah Lewis-Travis, 14, was the only Washington state swimmer chosen for the 16-member 2018 Western All-Star Team that took part in what USA Swimming calls the “premier minority swim competition in the United States and the World.”

Saniah, an eighth-grader at Destiny Middle School, lives in Lakewood and has been swimming competitively with the Metro Parks team since she was 11.

Members of the 2018 Western All-Star Team represent a total of seven states from Colorado west. Team members range in age from 14 to 16. All are swimmers of color.


Athletes were chosen based on their 2017 performances. “This is the most competitive selection process we have ever had,” said Jeremiah Stanton, of Albuquerque, N.M., who led the selection committee. “It is difficult to select just 16 athletes when there are 28 events. Those selected are our most well-rounded and talented swimmers.”

Saniah competed in about a dozen events, including freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.

The Black History Invitational Swim Meet is an annual event sponsored by the Washington, D.C., Department of Parks and Recreation and the United Black Fund in honor of Black History Month. The three-day meet was first held in 1987 and typically attracts 800 competitors ages 5 to 18.

Saniah’s mother, Maleaka Carter, said her daughter was thrilled by the opportunity to participate and visit the nation’s capital. “This is a very big deal to her,” Carter said a few days before the event.

She described her daughter as a girl who has blossomed as part of the Metro Parks Aquatics Team, where she always has felt welcome. It has boosted Saniah’s self esteem and given her a sense of belonging. It’s also awakened her passion and competitive drive to improve her personal best. “It’s really neat to see her so involved,” Maleaka Carter said.

Saniah’s trip to Washington, D.C., was supported by Pacific Northwest Swimming, the Western Washington chapter of USA Swimming, the 400,000-member service organization which is the nation’s governing body for competitive swimming.