A new report by the USA Swimming Foundation found that 70 percent of African-American children couldn’t swim – a rate that is three times higher than white children. Similarly 60 percent of Hispanic children also do not know how to swim. James Morton, President of the YMCA in Hartford, CT cites lack of affordable swimming lessons in African-American communities.

He told The Grio, “We need to address this issue and we need to address it immediately. Access to affordable swim lessons that are conveniently located within communities is the real challenge.”

Morton is now dedicated to helping families get affordable swimming lessons.

To combat this rising statistic, here are three reasons why we should teach our children, and ourselves, how to swim:

  1. Great Summer Activity – Swimming is a great activity. It makes it all the more to hang at the beach or by the pool in the heat of the summer. Plus it’s a great activity for children to get them out of the house and part of their community. It also offers valuable training.
  2. Fitness – Swimming is an excellent workout. It’s one of the best cardio activities that you can partake in to keep you healthy without doing much physical damage to your body.
  3. It could Save Your Life – Probably one of the most important reasons, learning how to swim could save your life. You never know if you may find yourself on a boat or a ship for a fun weekend, but something horribly goes wrong. Learning how to swim could literally keep you alive.

Check out this video posted over at The Grio about the importance of learning how to swim.

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  1. Yes. I can swim. My father was military and my family was stationed in Washington state. At the time, you were required to know how to swim for high school graduation. One summer, my mother enrolled me and my two brothers in the Depenedent Youth Activities (DYA) swimming class. I was a kind of chubby 8th grader. By the end of the summer, I had lost all of my baby fat and I knew how to swim. My bothers and our new friends would have to walk over a mile back home from the swimming pool. All I remember was falling asleep as soon after I got home. Swimming is a good activity for kids. They learn a great skill, get much needed exercise, get physically stronger, and meet new friends. Plus, it was free babysitting for my mom as you had to be in a swim suit in the wet areas. 🙂

  2. As I child my school forced us all to learn to swim. I never was comfortable in the pool..always fearful of the deep end. In highschool if we could pass the swim test we got to skip the unit. ..I’d say now in my adult life I am a crappy to non swimmer. However I do realize it is a life skill not luxury to know how to swim. As for my parents my Dad is a great swimmer.my Mom not at all….hmmm

  3. Sad to say I am not a swimmer, but I can tread water. I was afraid of water and was forced to go to swimming lesson as a child and cried and screamed the entire time. I am 44 years old and still remember the anxiety I felt everytime I smelled the chlorine from a pool, this lasted for years. I wasn’t comfortable in water until my sophomore year in college. Many of us got together in the complex pool, I stayed off campus, and the swimmers taught the non-swimmers how to at least be comfortble treading water. I was so proud to realize I was treading for more than five minutes and most importantly not freaking out ’cause I was in the deep end!

    Everyone should know how to swim, but they definately shouldn’t be forced into it, it just takes a little longer for some of us. My sons are very comfortable in the water. One is a good swimmer, the other not so well, but at least he’s not afraid.

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