Five Ways to Prepare Yourself to be a Swimmer

Prepare Yourself to Swim

Swimming is one of the few recreational sports that can help save your life; credit Kzenon


by Thomas Dorsey

Nearly 7 in 10 African American adults can not swim, and black children ages 10 to 14 are 10 times more likely to drown in pools than white children, according to the Red Cross and Centers for Disease Control.

The good news is that tens of millions of African Americans CAN swim, including National, Olympic and Paralympic champions. If you have yet to learn, these five actions will give you a head start:

Register for a virtual lesson with African-American Paralympian Champion Jamal Hill, whose goal is to teach one million people how to swim.

● Google other online swim resources. There are A LOT.

● Talk frankly with friends and families about the ups and downs of their journeys toward learning

● Watch films that make you dream of doing laps in an infinity pool.

Look for the movie “Pride” with Terrance Howard, the movie “Men of Honor” with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and “Blacks Can’t Swim,” a documentary that’s more educational and inspiring than it sounds.

Check the Red Cross’s national directory of where to go for swim lessons in or near your city, for after the pandemic.

Taking these actions WILL NOT teach you to swim. Don’t jump or dive into any pool or into beach waves without passing in-person, certified professional swim courses.

And remember that swimming carries risk. Learning the sport takes caution, commitment and perseverance through the “It’s too hard. I’m quitting” stage. It is hard, but you got this.


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