02 May 2008

Minority Swimming Gap

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 60 percent of African-American children can't swim, almost twice the figure for white children, according to a first-of-its-kind survey which USA Swimming hopes will strengthen its efforts to lower minority drowning rates and draw more blacks into the sport.

...Black children drown at a rate almost three times the overall rate. And less than 2 percent of USA Swimming's nearly 252,000 members who swim competitively year-round are black.

....The study also found that swimming ability, regardless of race, increased in relation to parents' income and education.

....Wanda Butts of Toledo, Ohio, is participating in the program. Her 16-year-old son, Josh, drowned last year in a lake as he played with friends on a raft despite his inability to swim.
Butts now travels periodically to preach the importance of learning to swim — in fact, she's taking lessons herself. She's also launched an initiative called the Josh Project, which ensures that lessons are free for families unable to afford them.

"The best way is to start the children as young as possible," she said.

They sure cannot learn to swim in a sprayground. See my other posts about swimming here.

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