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Abstract

Over the last ten years, the gap in swimming participation between Whites and other minority groups has been well documented. Moreover, the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural constraints to swimming participation by African Americans have been clearly delineated. With the challenges surrounding the minority swimming gap acknowledged, the impetus should now be on creating strategies to rectify the problem. This paper argues for a collective effort on the part of the African American community to ameliorate the swimming gap, thus lessening the senseless deaths associated with it. In this paper strategic actions are outlined including advocacy and the creation of viable partnerships to bridge the swimming gap. Most notably, the authors applaud the efforts of African American swimming luminaries such a Cullen Jones and many others who continue to articulate the importance and urgency of African Americans learning to swim but surmise that they cannot do the “heavy lifting” by themselves to encourage and inspire African Americans to learn to swim. Organizations such as the National Urban League (NUL), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congressional Black Caucus and media moguls such as Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Mo’Nique are encouraged to join forces with the NUL and NAACP in developing a broad-based initiative to promote learning to swim. In summary, the authors argue that the African American community must play a significant role in developing solutions to curb drownings and close the swimming gap.

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