After taking up swimming as adults, Soul Cap co-founders Michael Chapman and Toks Ahmed-Salawudeen realized that existing swim caps weren’t designed for Black swimmers like themselves, who need extra protection from the effects of chlorine and a larger design to accommodate thicker, curlier hair. Their solution: the Soul Cap, which can cover dreadlocks and braids, and aims to make the sport more inclusive. But swimming’s international federation, FINA, banned the caps ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, saying they did not conform to “the natural form of the head.” In September, after an outcry, FINA reversed its policy. The silicone cap earned a partnership with Adidas the same month.
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