February 9th, 2021 marked the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Congress' establishment of The George Washington University's charter.
GW Athletics is proud to be part of the university's bicentennial celebration, honoring the historic milestone with a variety of initiatives meant to highlight the best of the Buff and Blue.
Weeks removed from representing her native Bermuda at the 2004 Olympics, Katura Horton-Perinchief arrived in Foggy Bottom as a graduate student, kicking off a tremendous run in Buff and Blue.
In her lone season of competition, she set program records on both 1-meter and 3-meter on the way to A-10 Most Outstanding Diver honors and a berth at the 2005 NCAA Championships.
She stayed with the program the following season, serving as a head diving coach as she finished up work toward her master's degree from the Milken School of Public Health.
At that moment, Horton-Perinchief couldn't fully appreciate her history-making, barrier-breaking accomplishment.
Representing her native Bermuda, Horton-Perinchief became the first Black woman to dive at the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games. The experience brought newfound attention from NBC cameras, unforgettable meetings with megastars like Venus Williams and Carmelo Anthony, and a mountain of pressure for a 21-year-old determined to show she belonged among the world's best.
"I really did not think too much about it back then," said Horton-Perinchief, one of two GW divers to advance to the NCAA Championship along with Bobbi Ferraro ('90). "Obviously as I've grown older, I have grown to appreciate the importance of having representation that looks like you on the world stage. I've grown to understand the magnitude of what I was able to accomplish 16 years ago, but at the time, I was just trying to dive well and not embarrass myself or my country."
Horton-Perinchief made Bermuda proud with her efforts on the 3-meter springboard, and her continued appreciation for her Olympic breakthrough has led her to a life devoted to service on her home island, aided by a pair of GW graduate degrees.
Utilizing her master's of public health, Horton-Perinchief serves as manager of Bermuda's National Tumour Registry collecting and analyzing data to help cancer patients, while her experience in GW's executive MBA program sparked her to blaze a new trail with the creation of the Star Diving Camp.
Star Diving Camp, which just finished its seventh summer, allows Horton-Perinchief to share the sport she loves with youngsters on the island and make it accessible in a way that it never was before.
"It was really about changing the face of this sport and what people believe is possible and what kids see themselves as being able to do," Horton-Perinchief said. "It's really an honor and a privilege to be able to teach these kids. We get black kids, we get white kids, we get kids from private schools, public schools.
"It's really a place where these kids from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different circumstances can come and feel that they're on an even playing field and that they belong to this family of divers. It's just been amazing to watch it come to fruition in front of my very eyes."
In Foggy Bottom, Horton-Perinchief relished a return to normal in a welcoming atmosphere after so much fanfare.
"It was really nice to get back into the swing of things after the Olympics," Horton-Perinchief said. "Everything felt calm. Getting back to school and getting back to the team environment was just really nice."
At Texas, Horton-Perinchief had made progress alongside a slew of talented teammates, but she'd never won an individual conference gold nor made the NCAA Championship field, sweeping both boards at the 2005 A-10 Championships en route to Most Outstanding Diver honors. Then, she clinched a spot at the national meet with a shining effort at the NCAA Zone A Championships in Annapolis, Md.