Beginning in 1992, Commissioner El Franco Lee instituted the
Harris County Aquatics Program to develop valuable leadership and
teamwork skills for youth through swimming. Through teaching the
sport of swimming and also providing opportunities for competition,
the Aquatics Program instills discipline and teamwork, while also
providing instructions in a lifetime sport. The program is growing
each year, and its award winning team, the Mighty Dolphins, has
competed in numerous local and national swim meets across the USA.
HCAP swimmers have gone on to receive scholarships to schools such
as the University of Houston, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of
Evansville, Louisiana State University, and the University of Utah.
Four members of the competitive team have also qualified and
competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Harris County Aquatics Program “HCAP” success is due
in large part to its director Johnnie “Coach” Means.
Coach Means, a renowned swim coach and retired head of Texas
Southern University’s Swim Department, continues to
demonstrate his dual vision and mission of training young bodies
for recreational and competitive swimming, while simultaneously
training young minds in skills of discipline, self assurance and
HCAP developed into what it is today by partnering with the
Houston Independent School District, Aldine ISD and the American
Red Cross. It operates at 3 locations in the Houston area: Attucks
Middle School, Kashmere High School and the Harris County Aquatics
Center. Each site is staffed with a swim coach, water safety
instructor and lifeguard.
The Aquatics Program is conducted in three
Stage 1: Free Learn-to-Swim classes to any
youth 7 years of age and older taught by a certified WSI.
Stage 2: Upon Completing the five levels
of Learn-to-Swim, the student is then taught and coached on the
competitive swim strokes, which are freestyle, backstroke,
butterfly, and breaststroke.
Stage 3: After demonstrating leadership
and teamwork skills, dedication and ability, the student may be
invited to become a member of the competitive swim team. This team
competes in local and national meets sanctioned by USA