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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


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Learning from the Aussies

Started this discussion. Last reply by Kofi Anku Jun 18, 2011. 9 Replies


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Outside The Box

For those with a passion, interest or curiosity about open water swimming and who wish to talk about how to get more people of color informed and involved in long distance swimming.
Jul 29, 2020

Profile Information

Aquatic Interest
Competitive Swimming, Recreational Swimming, Lifeguarding, Swim Lessons, Surfing, Rowing
More about me:
Devoted open water endurance swimmer who wants to share the beauty of this world to low income African American and Latino youth. It would be nice to see kids go beyond the pool and dream of swimming the Channel or other marathon swims.

Although, I am excited when I see Black folks learning to swim in the pool it occurs to me that many accomplished pool swimmers find open water a place that is far out of their comfort zone. I feel it is essential that one be able to be around a natural body of water (i.e. lake, Bay or ocean) and feel just as comfortable as they would in the pool.

For many the main issues of not swimming in open water are; the cold, salty taste, not being able to touch the bottom, and aquatic life. But all of these hesitations can be overcome. I am hoping to bring a diverse group of men and women together to show the beauty of swimming in nature and enjoying the wonders of two-thirds of this world.

I'm happy that more and more people of color are taking up scuba diving and the like, but I'm hoping to connect with others on this site about introducing kids and adults of color to long-distance swimming.

Keep Swimming!

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Comment Wall (21 comments)

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At 7:58pm on December 10, 2011, Tankeeya said…

Hi Naji!  Thanks for supporting The Josh Project! Take Care!

At 8:22pm on June 26, 2011, Michelle G. said…
Hi Naji! Thanks for stopping by my page and for your note! I really appreciate it. How do you know Melon Dash?
At 4:28am on June 18, 2011, Kofi Anku said…

Hello Naji, 


Any interest in getting a few black open water swimmer together to organize an open water swim in Ghana?  Such an event would certainly raise the profile of the sport in the country and garner a ton of media attention around the issue of water safety.  


Best Regards,



At 6:18pm on May 31, 2011, Jeannie Brown Johnson said…

Hey Naji,


Appreciate the friend invite :)


And to answer your question about water aerobics, YES, I've had quite a few folks cross train with me when I was working at Sports Club LA-DC and Vida Fitness.  Although those 2 clubs had shallow water pools, we were able to work on full body strength & toning with bands, weighted balls, ankle cuffs & bells.  The class I teach on Saturdays from 9-10a @ Waterside Swim & Fitness Club in South West DC is a shallow deep pool where we have more room to do cardio, plyometric training, strength & toning, plus, incorporate fins (if you have a pair) in the deep water segments of class.  You're welcome to join us on on that day or Erica on Tues/Thurs from 7-8p (although I will be subbing her class this Thurs.)

You'll be able to enjoy a fun, challenging class with great music :)


Look forward to seeing you one of these days.


The club is @ 901 6th & M Streets, SW, WDC.  If you need subway or driving directions just Google them or shoot me a note so I can help ya' get there, OK.


Peace, Prosperity, Health & Harmony,

"Aqua Power to the People!"


Jeannie Brown Johnson

At 8:04pm on May 15, 2011, Naimah Fuller said…

Hi Naji - thanks for making your friend here on Diversity in Aquatics.  I look forward to learning from you and everyone here, more about the aquatic culture.  




At 12:11am on May 5, 2011, Faheemah said…
So, I have a question---how does one overcome the fear of aquatic life? The idea of open water sounds a bit interesting to me until I think about jellyfish and sharks and even little schools of fish (ahhhhhh!!!)...
At 12:07am on May 5, 2011, Faheemah said…
Thanks, Naji! Rowing is the most challenging physical activity I've encountered yet, but it's also quite addictive. Only the craziness of my first few years of grad. school could keep me away so long...I am SO excited to be back into it! Glad you're interested and want to learn more. The row your friend took you on certainly wasn't a novice trip, so although rowing is tough I think you probably got an overdose! haha I hope that you try it again! And if I'm bold enough, someday I'll go for an open water swim. Happy swimming :)
At 5:49pm on April 26, 2011, Wanda Jean Butts said…
Naji - how are you?  I miss talking to you.  Hope you are well and still swimming!  We are getting ready to have our 1st Annual Water Safety Day on May 28.  May is the National Water safety Month so we are getting our day in.  Wish you could be here!  I still love you, thank you, and appreciate all you did and have done for The Josh Project!  Peace, Blessings & Joy to you!  Your friend and sister - wanda
At 2:48pm on December 15, 2010,
Board Member
Shaun Anderson

Naji, Will you be doing any long OW practice swims during your trip?

At 12:45pm on June 1, 2010, Jayson Jackson said…
How did it go on Saturday?

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