Shaun Anderson and Diversity in Aquatics become part of the permanent U.S. Congressional Record

Speech of Hon. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

 

Mr. Fattah: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and congratulate a young man of remarkable achievement. Shaun Anderson is co-founder and President of Diversity in Aquatics Inc., a visionary network that works to save lives through global efforts to reduce the incidence of drowning.

But that's not all. Shaun is a consultant to USA Swimming, a college faculty member, a former coach as well as a collegiate swimmer and track team member at his alma mater, Pennsylvania State University. He began swimming competitively at age four.

Citing these accomplishments and more, Penn State has named him one of 12 alumni under the age of 35 to receive the 2011 Penn State University Alumni Achievement Award. He will be honored on April 8.

Let me tell my colleagues a little more about this amazing young man. His brainchild, Diversity in Aquatics, boasts members across a worldwide spectrum including Olympians, coaches, elected officials and educators. The organization is literally a life saver. It helps spread the word about water safety through advocacy, educational programs, and action, holding regional water safety clinics, and connecting individuals and groups through their website.

I was pleased to provide a welcoming video for the Diversity in Aquatics Network, which has been active in support of swimming and water safety in Philadelphia's communities of color. The Network has spotlighted the work of Jim Ellis, who developed Philadelphia's first all-African American swimming team and was the subject of the biopic ``Pride.''
In 2009, USA Swimming named Shaun a diversity consultant, giving him responsibility for developing programs for under-served communities throughout the country. He has become a global spokesperson on the issue of diversity in swimming and aquatic safety. For example, he was interviewed and appeared in a Newsweek article in September 2010 about efforts to lower the rate of drowning among African American children.

Shaun Anderson devotes himself to a vital but often overlooked cause. It is a sad fact that worldwide, 388,000 people a year--an average of more than 1,000 a day--are known to perish by drowning, although this data may dramatically understate the problem. In our nation and overseas, a disproportionate number of drowning victims, and victims of non-fatal injuries from submersion, are children from communities of color and from low-income backgrounds. The reasons are many, but the ``cure'' is obvious: teach youngsters how to swim, use safety techniques and respect the perils of water.

In pursuit of this goal, Shaun Anderson has assisted with clinics in Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, the Philippines and elsewhere. Most recently he helped the Bahamian Ministry of Education and International Olympic Committee in implementing a nationwide learn to swim program for the Bahamas.

Anderson also serves as a faculty member in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science at Norfolk State University. At Penn State he was a varsity athlete in two sports: three years on the track team and a four-year member of the swim team. In addition to his degree in Kinesiology from Penn State, he holds an M.B.A. from California State University--Long Beach.

It is no wonder that Shaun Anderson has been widely recognized and honored for his ``diversity'' of achievements. He is a multi-tasking role model and advocate who carries a life-saving message and the imperative of diversity into regions and disciplines never before imagined. Across our nation, young people of all races and communities are healthier, better swimmers--and very much afloat in life--thanks to a talented, tireless young man named Shaun Anderson.

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Tags: Chaka Fattah, Diversity in Aquatics, House of Representatives, Shaun Anderson

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Comment by Shaun Anderson on May 13, 2011 at 1:24pm
Thank you for the kind words and the continued support...Let’s keep going! Let’s use this gift to uplift!
Comment by Richard V. Powell Sr. on May 13, 2011 at 3:51am
This Congressional Recognition is Wonderful and well deserved! Thank you Shaun Anderson for sharing your Knowledge and Skills, in an effort to decrease the disproportionate number of drowning victims, and victims of non-fatal injuries from submersion! Additionally, you are greatly appreciated for acclimating many to the Aquatic Environment, and " World of Water," through Diversity in Aquatics, Inc.
Comment by Michael on May 12, 2011 at 9:57pm

Go Shaun.  Well done.  It is well deserved and a great honor.  Keep doing what you do and being a great example for others every where.

Outstanding!!

peace,

Michael

Comment by Naji on May 12, 2011 at 6:35pm
Congratulations Shaun! It couldn't happen to a better individual! You are to be commended for your tireless work in preventing drowning and making all people water safe
Comment by Tracey Friley on May 12, 2011 at 3:31pm
This is SO fantastic!  So, so fantastic!  Way to go, Shaun! 
Comment by Brenda Jackson on May 12, 2011 at 12:09pm

CONGRATULATIONS SHAUN.  A GREAT HONOR.

 

Keep up the good work.

You and Jayson work well together.

love, mom (jackson)

Comment by Charles Lumpkin on May 12, 2011 at 11:56am
Great job Shaun.  Charlie
Comment by Miriam S Lynch on May 12, 2011 at 11:29am
This is soo amazing! CONGRATULATIONS!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a great honor to a great role model. Thank you and Jayson for your encouragement, spirit and inspiration. It has been great working with you on creating programs in the DC area that promote water safety and aquatics to the community. Many continued blessings to you both!!
Comment by Wanda Jean Butts on May 12, 2011 at 10:53am
CONGRATULATIONS SHAUN!!! It is my honor and pleasure to know you!  Good Job - Good and Faithful Servant of the people!!  May God continue to Bless & Keep you!  Will you still be my adopted son??:)
Comment by ERROL DUPLESSIS on May 12, 2011 at 10:43am

Congratulations, Shaun!  Wow!!!  I am speechless (no I am not).  I cannot think of a more deserving person than youself for the Congressional recognition you received.  Truly you (and your buddy Jayson) were visionaries to have developed, and to bring together, an on-line network of professionals to reduce the incidents of drowning world-wide.  Norfolk State University is truly blessed to have you on their faculty, and when I think about it and put all things into perspective, I know it is the right place for you to be doing what you do.  Keep on keeping on, you are a remarkable man, and I am proud to count you as a friend. 

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Read the Newsweek article featuring The Diversity in Aquatics Program and several of its members.

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