Honoring Fred Evans
As February marks Black History Month, it is important to recognize and honor the contributions
of Black athletes who have made a significant difference in sports. In the world of swimming,
Fred Evans stands out as a trailblazer whose achievements continue to inspire generations of
Born and raised in Washington D.C., Evans began his swimming journey in a sport dominated
by white athletes. Despite facing discrimination and obstacles along the way, Evans’ passion for
swimming drove him to achieve remarkable success both in and out of the pool.
Breaking Records and Barriers
Evans’ groundbreaking achievements started during his collegiate years at Chicago State
University. There, he made history as the first Black person to win a collegiate swimming
championship. His victory in the 100-yard breaststroke at the 1975 NAIA Swimming
Championships marked a significant milestone, not only for Evans, but for all Black competitive
Throughout his collegiate career, Evans continued to shatter barriers, scoring three consecutive
NCAA Division II National Championships. He set records in both 1975 and 1977 in the
100-yard breaststroke. His dominance in the pool showcased his exceptional talent and his
steady determination to succeed in a sport where diversity was scarce.
Beyond his achievements as an athlete, Evans dedicated years of his life to coaching and
nurturing young swimmers. His commitment to mentoring the next generation of athletes
highlights his belief in the transformative power of swimming to instill discipline, resilience, and
Coaching and Mentorship
In addition to coaching, Evans played a pivotal role in advancing diversity and inclusion within
the swimming community. As an advisor to USA Swimming’s Make a Splash initiative and the
International Swimming Hall of Fame’s African American Outreach Swim Program, he
advocated tirelessly for greater representation and opportunities for minority swimmers.
Fred Evans’ impact is deeply personal for many who had the privilege of knowing him outside of
competitive swimming. Our CEO, Jose Gallagher, met Evans during his freshman year of high
school in 1990. Fred led the swim team to three top finishes at the Chicago Public League
Championships. Evans’ generosity and kindness left a lasting impression on those he
During their time at Whitney Young High School, Evans inspired his students to excel and
exceed expectations. He connected Jose with notables in swimming like Olympian William
Danforth (Bill) Mulliken. Thanks to Evans and Mulliken, Jose attended the 1991 Stanford
University Summer Swim Camp, a transforming experience that would launch his swimming
Evans’ commitment to fostering a sense of community extended beyond the pool deck. He took
his students to the Black History Month swim meet in Washington DC. There, Jose and his
teammates met greats like Sabir Mohammed, Atiba Wade, and Joe Hudepohl. He shared
insight of his upbringing and personal achievements. Evans was present at significant
milestones, such as attending Jose’s senior year graduation party. This speaks volumes about
his character and dedication to those he cared about.
As Jose started swimming at the University of Minnesota, Evans was there for support. His
readiness to lend an ear during tough moments shows how much he impacted those he
Evans’ legacy extends through his children, Olympian Aja Evans and NFL athlete Frederick H.
Evans, both ran around pool decks as children and then competing around the country and the
In recognition of Fred Evans’ lifelong dedication to swimming and advocacy, Rip Current Sports
proudly honors him during Black History Month. Let us celebrate his achievements, honor his
legacy, and continue to support diversity and inclusion in swimming. In doing so, we honor not
only Fred Evans but also the countless unsung heroes who have paved the way for a more
equitable and inclusive future in athletics.
Before Sarah Bofinger, also known as Mergoddess, took her first steps, she was already making waves. Mergoddess, a devoted aunt, proud Maryland Terrapin, and passionate dancer, has now earned her place as a qualifier for the Paralympics Parapan American (ParaPan-Am) Games.
This venture is far from ordinary. It all began with a dream—a dream that would ultimately evolve into a hard-earned reality.
First Step: Meet Qualifying Times
Achieving a qualifying time was no easy task for Sarah. She has undergone seven surgeries due to congenital hip dysplasia. Determined, she opted to use the best kickboard for swimming, Rip Current Sports Dual Boards.
Sarah, a committed athlete, set her sights on becoming a champion breaststroker. Drilling with Dual Boards in her staple regimen, she became a faster, smoother, and more efficient swimmer, shaving precious seconds off her breaststroke. The result? Mergoddess became an eligible contender for the ParaPan-Am Games!
Mergoddess’ mobility, nurtured through her training with Dual Boards, isn’t limited to the swimming pool; it extends gracefully to the dance floor. Her movements are now fluid and her steps assertive, thanks to improved core strength, balance, and body control.
Unwavering Self-Confidence: A Catalyst for Success
Critical to her journey is Sarah’s unwavering belief that, through systematic, disciplined training, she can qualify for any national or international swimming competition. For the ParaPan-Am Games, coaching has focused on drills with the M-formation, a strategy that strengthens the breaststroke kick.
See how to perfect your M-formation here!
The Reward: Mergoddess off to Santiago, Chile
The reward arrived on September 25, 2023, as Sarah’s hard work was validated. Beginning November 17, 2023, Mergoddess will compete in Santiago, Chile, SA, marking a significant milestone in her journey. As she also fulfills her dream of traveling abroad to South America, she will undoubtedly inspire others to embark on their own travel adventures.
The Journey Continues
Regardless of the outcome, Mergoddess will be fully equipped with the improved skills and confidence cultivated through Dual Boards and Rip Current Sports IHM Swim Training Model. Her journey is a testament to the incredible transformation that dedication and the right swim products can provide.
Sarah Bofinger took the best kickboards to Hawaii this week and discovered what Dual Boards are like in the ocean! Sarah spent seven days with the Kona Dolphins age group team, learning new swimming techniques from Karyln Pipes. She said Dual Boards supported her transition from the pool to the ocean in the long term. She did a one-mile open swim with these buoyant boards and came in second in her age group, 10th in females, and 33rd overall out of 330 participants. She had lots of fun and learned new ways to be a mermaid!
Dual Boards are still the best kickboard for swimming and are a significant part of my workout. Since COVID hit, I’ve been in the pool less, but at least I have my Dual Boards. They have allowed me to continue my swim training without a coach. After using Dual Boards for over a year and a half, I can confidently say my form has improved with these buoyant boards!
Of course, I’m a little biased about Dual Boards, for it’s not just swimming Rip Current Sports has helped me with. In September 2022, I started an internship with RCS, and now I am not just an enthusiastic Dual Boards user but also RCS Operations Manager Julia Whittle.
Marketing, administration, beta testing, blogging – you name it. I do everything needed to help Jose Gallagher make Dual Boards the success they deserve to be. Jose Gallagher is not just my employer and boss but my mentor. Jose has helped me manage my demanding position as Operations Manager despite my disability. Working at RCS has allowed me to maintain my swimming while working part-time. It’s been a great experience!