USA Swimming is releasing a new study that shows that non-swimming Blacks drown at a rate of 70%, Hispanics, 58%, while white non-swimmers drown at a 40% rate. The report cites the usual factors, lack of access, which is amplified in this recession. Pools are closing at an alarming rate in Black neighborhoods, and budgets to pay for lifeguards are also shrinking.
These horrifying statistics aside, we are really killing ourselves. The study cites that non-swimming black parents are the main culprit in the drowning rate. These parents can be so scared that they wouldn't let their children take free swimming lessons.
I remember learning how to swim and leaving my parents behind. They were terrified that they wouldn't be able to help me if something happened to me in the water, but they didn't prohibit me from learning to swim. That's the kind of faith and vision it will take for parents to let go of their fear and get their children the skills they need to survive. It's ironic that parents doing the best they know to do to keep their children safe are actually endangering them this way.
Meanwhile, USA Swimming, Make a Splash, Project Josh, etc. are working as hard as they can to reverse the statistic. It is disheartening to see that drowning rate so high after all the work these programs do. I pray that these parents have the strength to move beyond their fear to do what is best for their children.
cross posted at imswimming.net