This coach is making waves!
Howard University’s Swimming and Diving Coach was recently inducted into the HU Hall of Fame during their historic season opener.
Howard University is the only HBCU with a Division I swim team, and it has yet to cease to amaze us! From having a presence at the National Invitational Championship to former Howard swimmer Latroya Pina competing alongside her siblings in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, HU’s swim team is always making strides.
Raised in Kinston, NC, Nicholas Askew has always had a love for sports; he played tennis and learned how to swim at three years old, and he began competitive swimming at ten. He was a student athlete at Howard University where he earned a degree in Psychology and met his sweetheart, Christie Askew. He served as team captain, broke many swimming records, and became a six-time conference champion and MVP. He returned to his former team to lay the groundwork for more excellence, moving up the ranks from assistant coach in 2001 before earning various honors like “Coach of the Week,” “Coach of the Year,” and “Professional of the Year.” (Not to mention, he’s also the tennis coach)! Askew was highlighted by many major publications, and the Diversity in Aquatics organization nominated him as a Maritza Correia McClendon Award recipient. He was also named the 2020 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Conference Men’s Coach of the Year.
He currently sits in his ninth season as the director of swimming and diving, his efforts have surely been recognized with his recent induction into the school’s Hall of Fame. Askew stated, “I am humbled to be recognized for this prestigious honor of being inducted into the Howard Athletics Hall of Fame.”
This coach also led his team to many victories in and out of the pool. According to the Howard Bison athletics site, in Askew’s third season, both the women and men’s team finished undefeated at home, and they went all the way to Mid-Season Championships in Askew’s fourth season. The team has seen over 80 school records and, within thirty years, both teams have exceeded their season-ending records. The Men’s program also achieved the Highest Team GPA Award at HU in two of the last three years as well as both squads being selected to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American Team in consecutive semesters.
This past weekend, the school held the season opener meet, also known as the “Battle of the Burr,” against Georgetown University’s Hoyas. The school finished first and second in the men’s 200-yard medley relay. The coach told SwimSwam, “We knew it was gonna be a tough battle, but we knew we had a chance. I think that’s the mentality with our program moving forward: if we have a lane, we have a chance.”
Despite the meet, the crowd showed up and showed out, with a record-breaking number of people. The meet sold out of its 2,000 tickets! The crowd was more than appreciated by the head coach, who said, “The things that people really gravitate towards…that excitement, that energy, that’s where the inspiration comes from, you know, as a spectator and as a swimmer.” He hopes every meet this season is met with the same enthusiasm.
Askew calls his induction very humbling and stated, “I’m grateful because so many people took the time, effort, and energy to do that for me, and I want to be able to reciprocate that to people that have opportunities to come across.”
He’s certainly opening doors. Congratulations, Coach Askew! Your hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Photo: Mark Coleman