Greensboro's African American Community Newspaper since 1967

GAC’s Learn to Swim: 2nd graders make a splash!


Irving Park Elementary School “Learn to Swim” graduates display their certificates: Roy’el Heflin, Serena Haak, Fiona Lawrence with T. Diane Bellamy Small, Guilford County Schools District 1 Board member and “Learn to Swim” volunteer. Photo by Joe Daniels/Carolina Peacemaker[/caption]

A special graduation ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 6 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) for a select group of Guilford County Schools System second graders. These young students participated in GAC’s “Learn-to-Swim” program. This year, the popular program taught a record number 1,388 second graders how to swim and increased the number of participating elementary schools to 24.

2018 “Learn to Swim” schools are: Archer Elementary, Bluford Elementary, Brooks Global, Fairview Elementary, Foust Elementary, Frazier Elementary, Gillespie Park, Hampton Elementary, Haynes Inman, Hunter Elementary, Irving Park, Johnson St. Global, Jones Elementary, Kirkman Park, Lindley Elementary Montlieu Academy, Murphey Academy, Oak View Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Peck Elementary, Shadybrook Elementary, Simkins Elementary, Washington Montessori, and Wiley Elementary.

Since 2011, ‘Learn to Swim’ has impacted the lives of 5,500 program graduates,. Susan Braman, manager of GAC, cited a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which reports that approximately forty-eight percent of African Americans cannot swim and every day in the United States ten people drown.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that African American children drown at 5.5 times the rate of other children.

Swimming is one recreational activity, which people of all ages can participate. While “Learn to Swim” teaches water safety and swimming, the program encourages young people to swim and have fun. In the 2017 Summer Olympics, only three out of 45 swimmers representing the United States were African American and out of 107 HBCU’s, not one has a functioning 50-meter pool. Howard University is the only HBCU with a competitive swim team.