Making a Splash

2008 is a big year for D.C.'s gay swim teams

by Yusef Najafi
Published on April 10, 2008, 12:00am | Comments

If you know how to float, you're halfway there.

Of course, being a part of the D.C. Aquatics Club (DCAC) can mean much more than floating. While it's an excellent ''low-key'' approach to meeting other GLBT people with an interest in swimming, it's also an outlet for competition.

DCAC is an adult swim team dedicated to promoting fitness, social and competitive aspects of the sport among the GLBT community. The very active group hosts practice sessions at pools in D.C. and Maryland six days out of the week.

''Obviously, not everybody swims at all the practices,'' says Jonathan Horsford, a 35-year-old scientific administrator at the National Institutes of Health who serves as DCAC's captain. ''We have six [lanes] available, and we have on average between 25 to 40 swimmers at each practice.''

DCAC maintains a membership of about 150 members. Their meets usually include between six to eight lanes for members, in order to accommodate different levels of swimming. All are welcome, including those who are looking to mingle.

''There's some members who are really only there for the social aspects, not only the swimming,'' Horsford says. Throughout the year, DCAC hosts happy hour events, fund-raisers and many other social events.

This year, DCAC and the Washington Wetskins GLBT water polo team are responsible for organizing four days of events as part of the 2008 International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championship Meet, June 18-22 at the Takoma Recreation Center in Northwest.

''We are running the whole thing. It's not only swimming, it's also water polo and diving and synchronized swimming,'' says Horsford, adding that they expect up to 1,000 participants.

''That's a big deal for us, because it's four days and we have to organize all the social activities for people from all around the world.''

It's not all about the parties. Naturally, there's a competitive aspect to swimming with DCAC.

''We encourage all of our members to experience what it's like to be competitive,'' Horsford says. ''We have probably five to seven focus meets a year. [For some,] we travel to other cities to compete with other gay teams. But a lot of them are local meets where we compete with straight people.''

The D.C. Aquatics Club meets year-round, and during the summer months use outdoor pools. Horsford says the group is always looking for new members, and they make it easy to participate.

''Just show up,'' says Horsford, encouraging anyone interested to attend one of the many practice meets. ''If you like it, we can talk about joining.''

For more information about DCAC and details on the group's upcoming meets, visit www.swimdcac.org.

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