I just attended the "International Aquatic History Symposium and Film Festival" (May 9 – 12) at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While I was there I meet with Shaun Anderson, Thaeddeus Gamory, Mani Banks, Bruce Wigo, and others. I'm a history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and at the conference I discussed how Africans' swimming, surfing, and underwater diving skills and how slaves carried these practices to the Americas. Slaves incorporated these activities into their free time, and a number of slaveholders used slaves to dive for pearls and recover goods from sunken ships. I also discussed the myths pertaining to why black people purportedly don't swim like the lack of "buoyancy" and beliefs that slave owners prevented slaves from learning to swim.
I attached two articles that I published on Africans and slaves swimming and free diving. Hope you both enjoy and get some use out of them.