Africana Studies | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Exercise Science | Health and Physical Education | Inequality and Stratification | Kinesiology | Leisure Studies | Outdoor Education | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Justice | Sports Management | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


This article provides an analysis of self-reported water competency skills at a Historically Black University (HBCU). A survey was administered to undergraduate students who lived on campus at one HBCU. Of the 254 respondents that reported the ability to swim, only 187 respondents self-reported the ability to swim and the ability to perform water competency skills. The biggest discrepancy occurred within individuals that identified as Black or African American. In this group, 142 out of 250 participants proclaimed the ability to swim. However, the number of Black or African Americans that could swim dropped to 84 when researchers operationally defined swimming as having the ability to perform all five water competencies identified by the American Red Cross (Quan, 2015). Acknowledging that the community role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) has embodied the African American community since their inception. The Social-Ecological Model illustrates how historical factors impact the drowning disparity that persist today (Dahlberg & Krug, 2006; “The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention |Violence Prevention | Injury Center | CDC,” n.d.). The results of this study combined with the rich history of HBCUs points to the need for additional aquatic water safety education and programming at HBCUs.