Howard U swim team phenom set to make a splash at the 2020 Olympics

Latroya Pina has made a name for herself as a competitive collegiate swimmer, but now she'll get the chance to represent for Cape Verde in Tokyo

Latroya Pina

Howard University student and senior swimmer Latroya Pina is killing the game with her breaststrokes so well that the Bison has been tapped to take her talents all the way to Japan to swim for Cape Verde at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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It’s also a family affair for Pina, who along with her brother and sister, Troy and Jayla, will make history when they represent the Cape Verde National Swim Team in the Confederation Africaine de Natation Championship Meet, scheduled for Sept. 10-16 in Algeria, the Howard Bison reports.

Pina is pretty excited about the achievement and with her sibling squad at her side, and she’s brushing her shoulders off about the competition.

“It’s not far-fetched, three members of one family all going to the World Championships and the Olympic Games,” said Pina, who grew up in Massachusetts told the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.

“We’re not just swimming for our colleges or schools, but for a nation so we want to do our best.”

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Pina, who was selected Howard Bison of the Month in January, has racked up on awards. She won the women’s 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley in Howard’s Senior Night victory over Marymount. Pina also was a member of two winning relay teams against the Cardinals: 200 medley and 200 freestyle.

Pina, a senior biology major said she looks forward to representing the western African nation.

“Cape Verde is trying to make swimming a big sport now, so it’s our responsibility to represent our country,” Pina said. “People in Cape Verde and all the Cape Verdeans in the U.S. will be looking up to us.” 

Her school community is psyched too.

“To represent your country at the Olympic level is every swimmers dream,” said Howard Swimming & Diving Head Coach Nicholas Askew. Howard is the only HBCU with a men and women’s swim team.

“We are excited for Latroya and have no doubt, she will make Howard University and Cape Verde very proud.”

But most proud is her mother, Maria Alfama who admitted she’s not given to this type of sport but has long been a supporter.

“I don’t even know how to swim!” Alfama told the Sun Chronicle. “I was happy just watching. I’ve spent a lot of miles on the road, a lot of hours at pools with them. My life began when they got involved with sports and swimming. I was a super sports mom.”

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