Swimming is a healthy activity and sport that is often overlooked and underexplored in our community. Approximately 10 people drown every day in the U.S., and more than one in five fatal drowning victims are children younger than 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Additionally, 60-70 percent of the U.S.’s African-American and Hispanic children cannot swim, and African-American children drown at a rate nearly three times higher than that of their Caucasian peers.

Together, USA Swimming and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated are aiming to make a change.

On Saturday, July 14, USA Swimming representatives announced its new partnership with the historically Black sorority.

The partnership will bring greater focus to the health benefits of swimming and the importance of staying safe. Water education and ‘learn to swim’ programs will now be a part of the mandatory member curriculum and community service outreach beginning this fall for Sigma Gamma Rho. Water safety will also be a mandatory part of the Rhoer Curriculum and integrated into the Sorority’s youth symposium and Project Reassurance teachings.

Joann Loveless, International President of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. says, “Our new partnership with USA Swimming is a perfect fit within Sigma Gamma Rho’s ongoing efforts to safeguard our youth through our Project Reassurance umbrella theme of Healthy Choices, Healthy Living, Healthy Generations.”

2012 has now been marked a historic year for USA Swimming. The U.S. Team has never had more than a single team member of African-American descent and none before the 2000 Sydney Games.

“With the ever-increasing diversity of the sport on the world stage, it is of the utmost importance for USA Swimming to play a proactive role in helping kids become safer around the water as well as to provide opportunities for them to excel both as a team and as individuals,” said Talia Mark, Multicultural Marketing Manager for USA Swimming.

For more information about getting involved with USA Swimming, to learn to swim, to join a competitive swim team or to swim for health and fitness, please visit https://www.swimtoday.org.