Mina Rhoden Forging An Open Water Path
Mina Rhoden Forging An Open Water PathFeaturing Mina Rhoden by Al Jaurique on Vimeo.
Mina Rhoden, an African American open water swimmer from Novato, California, completed her first marathon swim across Lake Tahoe in 10 hours 55 minutes this week.
But she has done so much more.
“Historically, African Americans are not known for being swimmers,” says the South End Rowing Club member who has done at least 13 Alcatraz swims. “It’s possible I may be the first known African American to complete such a swim.”
Pioneering other open water swims among African Americans has been her forte over the years. And she has a historical perspective.
“Africans were accomplished swimmers. It’s my understanding that when slave ships were still in harbor near the African continent, their captives at first would jump overboard and swim to shore leaving their captors perplexed as a swimming tradition had been lost in the European culture during the Middle Ages. Hence, the need to chain slaves to the ship. Also that’s why most moats around the castles of Europe were quite effective defenses though only a few feet deep because these were people who could not swim.”
Rhoden is the first black person to do a number of swims around San Francisco Bay and elsewhere across the United States including the Bay 2 Breakers swim, Point Bonita to Aquatic Park, Kirby Cove; 5 Coves of Death (3 times), AT&T, Candlestick Nutcracker Swim, Swim the Suck, and the Catfish Crawl.
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