At the HBCU invitational meet at North Carolina A&T University last week, Torrence Ford received the Most Valuable Player award. In fact, Ford has been an MVP his whole life, through miracles, perseverance and a drive surpassed by nothing.
Ford, 22, a business administration student from Atlanta is the only child of Pauline and Al Ford. His mother suffered multiple miscarriages before she finally gave birth to Ford.
He started swimming at an early age at the neighborhood pool in a summer league program. After the program, one of the coaches who Ford had trained with urged him to swim with the City of Atlanta Dolphins, a year-round swim club.
Although Ford started there when he was ten, by the time he was twelve, he had set three junior records and was number one in the nation among his age group.
Swimming made him a prospective recruit for many universities across the country. Although Ford had offers from six other universities, he decided to come to FAMU because of the legacy of the School of Business and Industry. He was also persuaded by family members and friends who had gone to FAMU and had become successful in their chosen professions.
Ford can remember his freshman year when the team was a total of eight students. He knew this was one of the things that he would have to deal with by choosing FAMU.
When he and his mother weighed the option of coming to FAMU as opposed to schools with bigger teams, he had to determine if the scholarship money was enough to outweigh the fact that he would be a building block of the team.
“My mother had said, ‘Who knows what you might start when you come to FAMU?’ and looking back on that, she was right,” Ford said.
Now, the team has grown to thirty athletes.
Ford was a captain of the team during his freshman and sophomore years. Mark Howell, coach of the swim team, said that Ford has been a great example of leadership for the rest of the team.
“He has been steady in the leadership role. He has never complained and has always done what he has been asked to do,” Howell said. “I think he has impacted the swim team tremendously.”
Although Ford started with the breaststroke when he first started, he now competes in the individual medley and the butterfly events. In fact, he placed first in the 100 meter butterfly at the Southern States Conference last spring. Although this will be the first time that FAMU will compete in the Northeast Conference, Ford is expected to do well.
Ford also dives into his books just as hard as he does the pool. Currently, Ford has a 3.35 gpa and will graduate as magna cum laude at the end of this semester. He is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta honor society, the Financial Management Association, the Golden Key International honor society and In-Roads Atlanta.
Howell is pleased with Ford’s mindset.
“It is great when someone is steady in the pool and in the classroom. I think it speaks volumes of his character.”
Karl Riley II, 21, is Ford’s roommate and also sees that drive in him.
“He is very competitive and goal-oriented. He accomplishes goals that he sets for himself and he always goes after it as hard as he can.”
Contact Melissa Bridgewater at firstname.lastname@example.org.