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Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.

From The New York Times:

Her Parents Thought Swimming Lessons Were a Good Idea

Krystal Lara is one of very few Latinas in her class at Stuyvesant High School, and in the pool. She’s backstroking her way toward the Olympics.…

Former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

Good video about former Yale swimmer Siphiwe Baleka

http://www.foxsports.com/video?vid=396080195760

Lee Pitts discusses blacks drowning and non-swimmers issue in 1990 and started the revolution

Prior to 1987 nobody was discussing the lack of swimming skills and drowning amongst blacks. In 1987, Lee Pitts wrote and article for the "Jacksonville Times...

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Comment by Michelle G. on June 14, 2016 at 9:59am

Thanks for posting this video!

With all due respect to Mr. Pitts and his incredible historical contributions, we are also indebted to a legacy of advocacy for African-American non-swimmers by African-Americans prior to 1987 as evidenced in popular publications like Ebony Magazine and scholarly journals by African-American educators.

For instance, there's a terrific 1963 article featuring Jack Hall, an African-American native Chicagoan, in Ebony Magazine, entitled "Learn to Swim in 20 min.: Chicago instructor battles 6,500 annual ... (Issue April 1963, pp. 94-94, 96)."  Mr. Hall is shown with a representative of the National Safety Council. He  came from a tradition of superior swimmers in the Chicago public school system  as noted in the online article Chicago Public Schools Make Their Mark in Swimming: Lane Tech and D... by Robert Pruter.

In addition, there is the mid-century indelible impact of HBCUs on the promotion of swimming in the African-American community. Dr. Thomas F. Johnson, a former swim coach at Howard University published in 1949 "Swimming in Negro Colleges and Universities." The article appeared in the Journal of the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Volume 20, Issue 6, 1949, pp. 379-417.  HBCUs also served as a major pipeline for summer camp counselors who taught swimming at African-American owned and operated summer camps like Camp Atwater in Massachusetts. [Established in 1921, Camp Atwater is the oldest American Camp Association (ACA) accredited African American owned and operated camp in the nation. See more here about Camp Atwater.]

Although Mr. Pitts rightfully acknowledges inaccessibility to safe and well-maintained pools as a possible reason for the lack of swimming and high incidence of preventable drownings in the African-American community. I would like to also suggest that there was an invisible impact on the impressions of swimming and its accessibility overall to generations that could not afford to attend African-American institutions as HBCUs or these national summer camps in the U.S. In essence, I hope that class and perceptions of social mobility would also be part of the dialogue in our African-American community someday.

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