African American Studies | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Exercise Science | Health and Physical Education | Kinesiology | Leisure Studies | Public Health | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Sports Management | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


African American, Black, Hispanic, Latino, and low-socioeconomic communities have lower swimming ability and higher relative drowning rates than White and high-socioeconomic communities, distinguishing the former as high-priority populations to engage with effective learn-to-swim programming. This article demonstrates how prioritizing the reduction of fear-producing brain processes while learning to swim can result in 79.5% of high-priority population non-swimmers being able to jump into deep water, roll onto their backs and either float or tread for 60 seconds, and swim 25 yards after an average of 14 practice sessions. Practical explanations of four key components— water exploration, structured games, emulating coaches, and water safety education—are provided. Three real-world programming examples detail how the curriculum was structured and results for (1) a youth learn-to-swim program, (2) a high school program, and (3) a weekly day camp program.