(Photo credit: Soul Cap)

Soul Cap, the Black Hair Swim Cap, Finally Gets FINA Approval

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Swimming should be a sport open to all. Unfortunately, cultural differences and racial bias make it challenging, which is why Black-owned manufacturer SOUL CAP was established.

The company understood the need for a way to address varying hairstyles for aquatic competition, the former which can include dreadlocks, weaves, braids and afros. The Soul Cap was embraced by a crowd long discriminated against, and the hopes of using it during professional competitions were great.

Then it was barred from last year’s Olympics.

But late yesterday, Black swimmers and their hair received great news as FINA, swimming’s international governing body, approved the cap for use in top-level competitions.

It’s a decision the company called “a huge step in the right direction”.

Now athletes like Alice Dearing, Great Britain’s first Black Olympic swimmer, can compete while protecting her curly afro.

It’s a step in the right direction for a sport that continues to struggle with diversity.

Dearing understands the fight for diversity and acceptance in swimming only too well.

“At certain times, I have really struggled in sport. I would lie if I said I had sailed through,” said Dearing to The Guardian.

Last year, the hope was to have Soul Cap approved for Olympic competition. But FINA ruled against it, ruling the cap unsuitable for use in competitions due to them not “following the natural form of the head”.

That resulted in a backlash that grew organically, leading to an apology from FINA and an invitation for the company to reapply for consideration.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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