My 1-year-old grandson has been taking infant swimming classes like the kids of Steve @Brip Blap. He thought maybe some Americans don’t know how to swim because they live in city. I don’t think that’s the reason. It is more likely because of their socioeconomic background.
Just like my grandson, my siblings and I took swimming lessons; just at an older age. I didn’t know anyone that could not swim. That changed when I joined the Navy at the advanced age of 19.
Navy Swimming Challenge
One of the essential tasks in boot camp was to be able to swim across an Olympic size pool after jumping off a high diving board.
The purpose is to see if you could survive, at least a while, in the case of falling off or abandoning a ship at sea. Some girls never could make it across the pool and were literally booted out of the Navy because of it. Most of these were African Americans from poorer backgrounds. They didn’t have the benefit of childhood swimming lessons and trips to the ocean.
In case you think it is because of race alone let me tell you about my grandmother. She never learned to swim until she was 40 years old. Grandma never did become a great swimmer but she was able to enjoy the pool and beach the next 40 years of her life.
Doing Something About It
Cullen Jones, Olympic Gold Medalist, is African American and addressing the disparity. He traveled the country this summer with his Make a Splash initiative promoting low cost and free swimming lessons.
His goal is to give all kids swimming skills regardless of their ethnic or economic situations. His personal story of near drowning as a child showcases the importance of kids being water safe.
Although all Americans are rich compared to many countries, it doesn’t seem that way when you learn there are so many people that don’t know how to swim or kids that have never been to the local zoo (let alone an amusement park).
Are there other life skills poor children don’t learn?