On June 19, history was made in Great Britain. Alice Dearing finished fourth in a 10km marathon race in Setubal, Portugal and fulfilled a lifelong goal of qualifying for the Olympics. Not only will she represent Team Great Britain, but she will also do so as the first Black swimmer to represent the country.
"When I was younger, I never really thought about being an Olympian -- I thought 'oh wow, it would be so cool,' but I knew how much hard work went into it and honestly didn't think I was cut out for it," she said after fulfilling her lifelong goal.
"So I'm really proud to have proved myself wrong, in a way, and to achieve beyond my wildest dreams."
Dearing will have a chance to win gold at the Olympics when she travels to Tokyo, Japan later this month. When she steps foot in the Olympic pool for the first time, she hopes to do so with her goggles and signature Soul Cap, a piece of swimwear made specifically for natural Black hair. Unfortunately, the international governing bodies are making it more and more difficult to wear the swim cap she has become accustomed to wearing.
Last week, FINA, an international governing body for aquatic sports, made headlines when it banned the swim cap. FINA stated that elite swimmers "don’t require caps of such size" and claimed that the swim cap does not "follow the natural form of the head."
Fortunately, the international swim federation is revisiting this decision prior to the Tokyo Olympics. In a statement released on Tuesday, FINA acknowledged the backlash to their initial decision and Soul Cap is hopeful that Dearing will be able to sport their product on the world's biggest stage.
"FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage," the statement reads.
"FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to 'Soul Cap' and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation."
Moving forward, FINA will also work with Soul Cap to potentially use its products in FINA development centers for promising swimmers.