One word to describe this? RARE. I had the honor and privilege of swimming with a 100% minority swimming team from age 6-18. The Theresa Banks Tigersharks of Prince George's County, Md. have been undefeated and Prince-Mont Swim League champions since 2011. 

Sleep. Eat. School. Swim. Repeat. This was my routine [loosely] from two months old to my junior year of college. As a person of color in a predominately white sport, I have faced my own share of challenges, but no challenge affects me more than the thought of other minorities not knowing how to swim and the effects this has on minority communities. Here are a few facts from the CDC that just may (and should) rattle you a bit: 

  • From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents.
  • About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
  • More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs) require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegetative state).

I do not believe one needs to know all four strokes, unless they want to. However, I do believe that everyone should know how to swim enough to save themselves. As a teenage lifeguard and swim instructor, competitive collegiate swimmer and a recreational/fitness-minded swimmer today, I have taught every age from infant to "seasoned citizen" how to swim. Now, many may have preconceived notions about swimming or psychological limitations due to past experiences, etc. The great thing about these is that they can be proven wrong and completely reverted into positive dispositions regarding bodies of water. All great things take time and effort. 

The North Carolina A&T State University Lady Aggies Swimming team was the nation's only women's competitive swimming team at a historically black college or university. The team's final season ended in February 2016. 

All of the above has inspired the idea for the Swim2Live Camp. The objectives are as follows:

  1. Provide accessible and affordable swimming lessons to members of predominately minority communities.
  2. Increase water safety awareness/instruction and CPR certification in predominately minority communities.
  3. Encourage swimming, water aerobics and other water sports as alternative, low-impact exercises for all age groups.

If you are interested in learning more about this program and/or helping make it a reality, I would love to speak with you ASAP! :) 

 

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