Swimmer Blair of SwimSwam News
Whether it’s at the pool or in the classroom, the Florida native strives to make a difference anywhere he can. From working towards his Olympic dreams to his activism, the 15-year-old competitive swimmer's presence in the swimming world hasn't gone unnoticed, and he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. "My goal is to make it to the 2028 LA Olympic Trials, then the Olympics," When he was 12, he set records in the boys 100 and 500 yard freestyles and 50 yard butterfly.
Representation is important to Blair since he entered the competitive swimming space as a toddler. His role models include a range of individuals from Jamal Hill to Cullen Jones, and Lia Neal and Caroline Burckle.
SwimSwam News Swimmer Blair reporting underwater with the Outex waterproof phone cases
His hard work and determination have led to milestone achievements in his burgeoning career. He became the first African American male to win a gold medal for his team, Panama City Swim Team Tsunamis. Blair placed in the top five swims in the 50, 100, 200-yard freestyle, 200 individual medley, and 100-yard butterfly at the 2019 Southeastern Swimming Long Course Championships in Huntsville, Ala.
He has currently obtained 15 gold medals and medallions from region and regional swimming competitions and two silver medals in short-course events. This past January, he set a team record in the 11-12 Boys 100 and 500-yard freestyles and 50-yard butterfly.
He continues to put in the same work ethic towards his advocacy efforts with Swim 50 For Change challenge. Blair created the campaign last spring during the protests against racism and police brutality last year.
“When I heard about the George Floyd incident of police brutality, I, as a young kid said, “Hey, this isn’t right. I want to do something,” Blair reminisced.
With his love of swimming as the centerpiece, he asked swimmers to swim 50 yards or meters and think about ways they can benefit society in the process. He believed this is a great way of bringing people together while advocating for change.
“I’m using my Swim 50 for Change as a way to carry on and represent my community because I enjoy being who I am as a person, and I enjoy representing the Black community,” Blair said.
The challenge has already grown substantially with competitive swimmers and non-competitive swimmers alike taking part in the action. Well known professional swimmers and figures from the swimming industry have participated as well, including Cullen Jones, David Curtiss, water polo player, Ashleigh Johnson, and Fares Ksebati, the CEO of MySwimPro.
For some, these major accomplishments are the end goal, but for Blair it’s another day, another competition. Blair’s father, Cornelius Wootson, believes it’s important to enjoy your successes while also not forgetting there’s more to achieve.
“We live in the moment when he wins things, but we try to keep our eyes down the road,” Cornelius said.
Cornelius is one of the main driving forces in his son’s trajectory into the sport. He taught him how to swim at 13 months. He did not expect Blair to gravitate toward competitive swimming in the long term, but he continued to support him.
“I knew when I had a child that [swimming] was going to be one of those priorities,” Cornelius said.
Cornelius himself is no stranger to the water. After learning how to swim at 7 years old, he went on to teach his mother and other family members. He transitioned into conducting swimming lessons for others, becoming a lifeguard, and eventually became an aquatics director for a period of time.
Blair now swims with the National team for the Sarasota Sharks, and is still trying to make a difference in the world, one 50 at a time.