GSO Swim Association’s City ChampionshipsBy Naari Honor, Peacemaker Contributor / July 15, 2016
The Greensboro Community Swim Association held its 2016 City Championship meet last weekend at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. One member of the Greensboro Community YMCA Bears Swim Team, 14-year-old Omega Pinnix, made her mark at the city meet. In Greek, Omega represents the twenty-fourth and last letter of the alphabet. While it falls at the end of a long line of predecessors, the word Omega literally means “great O” and when it comes to swimming in competition, Omega Pinnix knows how to finish first.
Omega comes from a family of swimmers, who have been breaking records competitively for years.
As her name may suggest, Omega is the youngest child of Angela Foster, a Guilford County District Court Judge and Leonardo Pinnix, an engineer and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. They are the parents of five children who are active swimmers – Aquila, Alexander, Savannah, Lawson & Omega.
Omega’s big sister, Aquila, was one of the first African American swimmers to swim at the City Meet. She went on to earn a scholarship to swim for Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla., her alma mater.
Foster recounted the times she watched her oldest child swim at Greensboro meets.
“Years ago when my oldest daughter swam, there were not African American children on swim teams. Let alone Black little girls winning swim meets and making it to national competitions” said Foster. I remember going to one swim meet and having a person come up to me to tell me that the garbage in the bathrooms were full and needed to be emptied. You could look out [into the audience] and see one or two Black people. Now, you see a lot of Black people and it makes me feel proud to see that we have developed to the point where you see a lot of Black swimmers,” said Foster.
As Omega competed in last weekend’s city meet, she glided through the water with precision and placed first in the 50 yard Backstroke, 50 yard Freestyle and 100 yard Freestyle respectively. She also set a meet record of 24.19 seconds in the 100 yard Freestyle. Omega and the YMCA Bears are examples of how even children can be a force of power that can bring about positive change the world.
The YMCA Bears is not the traditional type of team one may find at championship meets. What makes them different?
Johnny Tsui, swim coach for the YMCA Bears said one big difference is that the team is one of the newest and the Y reaches out to a diverse population of potential participants, whereas most swim teams are comprised of particpants from neighborhoods or private swim clubs. “If a child doesn’t have a pool near their home they can still swim with us,” said Tsui.
Tsui attributes the fact that the Y’s club is able to have such a broad reach adds to the diversity of their swim team. “We get a variety of people,” said Tsui. “We are one of the most diverse swim teams here [at the City Championships Meet]. For some, this is their first time competing in competitive swimming.”
As for swimming sensation Omega Pinnix, she is a year-round swimmer and competition is nothing new for her. Not only was she named as one of the Golden Swimmers for both 2015 and 2016 CSA meets, she also holds meet records in the Girls’ 11-12 age group 100 Free at 54.24 seconds for 2015, the Girls’ 11-12 age group 50 Fly at 27.18 seconds in 2015, and the Girls’ 9-10 age group 50 Fly at 29.67 seconds in 2013.
Pinnix says she has been swimming since the age of five and simply enjoys the sport. “It’s the only sport I’m really good at,” laughs Pinnix. “Just the feeling of going fast and being in the water feels great.”
Look for more great things to come from Omega Pinnix.