Black Kids Swim PSA with Martiza McClendon

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A Virginia radio program examines the data regarding African Americans and swimming -- and how local groups are addressing it.

From Community Idea Stations:

Nearly 80 percent of children in families who make less than $50,000 a year have little or no swimming skills. In Central Virginia, groups are working to change those statistics and address the lasting disparities caused by segregation. WCVE’s Ian Stewart has more for "Virginia Currents."


At the Collegiate School Aquatics Center, second graders are about to get into the pool. Some of them for the very first time. Programs Manager Kris Reinhard has some rules to go over like keeping one hand on the wall for safety.

Kris Reinhard: So what are going to do with one of our hands?

Swimmers: Put 'em on the wall.

Reinhard: What are we going to do?

Swimmers: Put 'em on the wall!

Reinhard: Alright.

The program here is run by SwimRVA, a non-profit that teaches low-income children and children of color how to swim. Citing statistics from both USA Swimming and the Centers for Disease Control, Director Adam Kennedy says roughly half the U.S. population doesn’t know how to swim.

Adam Kennedy: When we break that down, 70 percent of our African-American community doesn’t know how to swim.

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