By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Clark, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs
CARY, N.C. (NNS) -- The East Coast-based Navy Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) Scout Team, including three active duty SEAL operators, attended the 8th Annual National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet May 28-31 in Cary, N.C.
The SEALs spoke with swimmers and coaches from all age groups about opportunities available in Naval Special Warfare Community and challenged the swimmers to a SEAL Fitness Challenge as part of their community outreach initiative.
"Our goal is to plant the seed with the younger athletes and build awareness of the career opportunities available within Naval Special Warfare," said retired Capt. Dave Morrison, an aquatics instructor and SEAL motivator based out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Va. "This is a community outreach program through which we aim to both grow and diversify our force."
Event organizers recognized retired SEAL Master Chief William Goines, the first African-American SEAL, as a pioneer of swimming during a community breakfast May 27.
"I had always wanted to be a SEAL," said Goines, who graduated from Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) training in 1956. "It was and continues to be hard work along with sheer determination that sets SEALs apart."
During a coaches dinner for the event, Capt. Phillip Howe, a Navy SEAL, delivered a few words on the important role coaches play in the lives of children and teenagers.
"Life presents challenges at every corner," said Howe. "Coaches, whether in athletics or professional life, are the ones who push us to overcome adversity and achieve our goals."
As the swimmers took to the pool May 29, the scout team maintained a vigilant posture at the pull-up bars, aiming to find swimmers up to the challenge.
An East Coast-based SEAL master chief, who manned the pull-up bars at the event for his second year, said the community outreach initiative is an important piece in maintaining the elite capabilities of the Naval Special Warfare community.
More than 700 athletes from throughout the nation participated in the meet.
Morrison said the event has continued to grow and is the ideal venue for getting their message out about SEAL/SWCC programs.
"We want to show them that success breeds success. We have three active duty SEALs available to talk to the swimmers about their careers and the challenges they overcame to get where they are today." said Morrison. "By spending time with the athletes, the SEALs not only create awareness about Naval Special Warfare, they show them with the right amount of determination, anyone can serve. The door is open to everyone."
And for the special operations community, diversity will continue to be imperative for the force of the future.
"There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the Naval Special Warfare community, but we are here to show the athletes that they have the opportunity to serve within an elite force," said Howe. "Diversity within the NSW community is essential for maintaining our operational advantage in the future."
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