This past Labor Day weekend, the inaugural National Hispanic Heritage Swim Meet took place at Sonner Aquatic Facility in Raleigh, NC on the afternoon of Saturday, September 5th. This swimming competition was specifically designed to allow youth swimmers of all levels swimming and all backgrounds to be able to participate. This first year, goals of reaching 50 swimmers was surpassed by the participation of 63 swimmers from 4 different clubs.
The goal of the National Hispanic Heritage Swim Meet is to foster swim awareness and water safety among Latino/Hispanic youth while celebrating the heritage of Latino/Hispanic Americans in the United States.
Following the swim meet, there was a dinner with speakers for the swimmers with former NC State swimmer and Olympic Puerto Rican National Team swimmer, Dan Velez, along with Manny Banks, USA Swimming Diversity and Inclusion Specialist. Dan Velez is the current Puerto Rican National Record Holder in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke. In 2007, Dan competed in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Puerto Rico. He also competed in the Pan American Games in Rio and had two top-8 finishes. In 2010, Dan won two bronze medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games. He swam for the NC State Wolfpack, where he was a two-time All-ACC and ACC record holder as part of the 200-yard medley relay. Dan currently works as a social worker in Cary and volunteers for Swim Across America.