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ant
May 26th, 2012, 12:28 PM
hi all, I'm writing from Italy. Hope not to be politically incorrect, you know, sometimes one uses wrong expressions which may be offensive without knowing it - English is not my language.
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My question: has someone understood why there are no black swimmers at the top of the world rankings? is there a physiologic reason? Thank you Antonio

guppy
May 26th, 2012, 12:55 PM
At least in the United States, there is a long and appallingly recent history of segregation against people of color in swimming pools, and so for decades they did not have the same opportunities as white people.

ant
May 26th, 2012, 01:10 PM
Thank you. So in your opinion there are only social reasons. It looks strange to me because there are so many great athletes of color in US, and the American society is so different from the times of segregation, I guess.
My question is due to the fact that in some sports - marathon for instance - the superiority of the athletes of color is evident - so maybe the opposite is possible in swimming. In any case, aren't there scientific attempts to investigate this subject?
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Edited just to add that I'm discovering only now that this issue is debated, and my question is somewhat frequent - there are some first-rate swimmers of color too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11172054

Frank Thompson
May 26th, 2012, 02:05 PM
At least in the United States, there is a long and appallingly recent history of segregation against people of color in swimming pools, and so for decades they did not have the same opportunities as white people.

This statement is true and for a great history lesson on this subject I would suggest reading the book "Contested Waters" by Jeff Wiltse if you really want to learn the history of this subject. You can order it here and read the reviews.

Amazon.com: Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America (9780807871270): Jeff Wiltse: Books

My question: has someone understood why there are no black swimmers at the top of the world rankings? is there a physiologic reason? I am not sure if I totally agree with this statement. It is true as a % compared to other sports that would be accurate, but to say there are no black swimmers at the top of the World Rankings would be false. I think of swimmers like Cullen Jones, Maritza Correia, Anthony Ervin, Sabir Muhammad, Bryon Davis, Jeff Commings, Michael Norment, Chris Silva, and Nate Clark. All of these swimmers I have mentioned have either been World and American Record holders, NCAA Champions or finalists, Olympic Trial finalists and Olympians, and USA National Team members. I have left off a lot of other Black swimmers but the point I am making is there has been progress since the late 1960's.

As stated besides the social reasons, there are theories that there are not enough black swimmers as role models for younger black children and they tend to relate to the successful black athletes in other sports such as football, basketball, and track. Swimming is starting to get roles models but needs a lot more to be able to get black children interested in swimming compared to those other sports.

These are just some observations but I am sure there are others out there also.

orca1946
May 26th, 2012, 02:14 PM
In Illinios, there a few that are sprinters

Warren
May 26th, 2012, 02:22 PM
There are a couple of reasons. Many people donít have the opportunity to learn how to swim especially in the inner city. Itís not that black people are bad at swimming, itís just that not many of them pursue competitive swimming. Cullen Jones is a great swimmer and he went from nearly drowning as child to being on a world record setting relay team. If every athlete in the world started swimming as a child and put all of their effort into swimming and not any other sport, Iíd be willing to bet that there would be a mix of races at the top of the list.

I think the main reason why there are not many elite black swimmers is because the top athletes choose other sports like basketball, football, and baseball. The top athletes are obviously going to purse the popular sports for the most part. Itís the same reason why America is not good at soccer. I remember watching the USA England game in the last World Cup and thinking to myself, what a joke. Englandís best player was an old balding white guy and we couldnít even beat them. If soccer was Americaís number 1 sport and guys like Michael Vick, Lebron James, and Chris Johnson played soccer their entire life and were playing in the World Cup, the US could dominate soccer.

knelson
May 26th, 2012, 04:17 PM
I think the main reason why there are not many elite black swimmers is because the top athletes choose other sports like basketball, football, and baseball.

And very few American born blacks play baseball these days, so that one is quickly falling off the list...

But, yeah, this is it in a nutshell. There is absolutely no physiological reason. It's purely historical and cultural.

__steve__
May 26th, 2012, 05:25 PM
It might be social mindset that's still prevalent from lack of opportunity in the recent past. However, the pools I use seem to represent a collective match to the surrounding population, but this is regarding general pool usage, not swimming specifically.

As far as physiological features, I think the benefits one carries for swimming depends on parents. Short legs, tall, long arms, and a center of buoyancy as far back from the front as possible. Few swimmers have perfect builds for it. For me, my legs are very long proportionally -must be the genes I inherited from northern Italy. Anyways, I have to work around this by kicking better and faster.

2fish&1whale
May 27th, 2012, 03:53 PM
One of the most beautiful swimming related things I have observed with my kids club is the increase in swimmers of Indian or Middle Eastern back ground-an ethnic group rarely if ever represented at advanced levels.However,our school district has(or had-it is now being cut)aquatic instruction in school for 1st,4th and 9th graders-so many are introduced to swimming and then want to pursue it at the club level.Some of these kids are coming in at 4-6 yrs old and are picking up skills quickly-and if their parents continue to support their participation there should be no reason why they won't be able to swim for their HS or even in college.

selkie
May 28th, 2012, 05:49 PM
If you look at population base & income there are actually an impressive number of Afro-Caribbean swimmers who reach the elite level- the Netherlands Antiles produced Enith Brigitha (best black swimmer of the 1970s, probably would have won Olympic gold if the East Germans ahead of her hadn't doped) Barbados has Leah Martindale, Jamaica has assorted unrelated women with the last name Atkinson (Alia, Janelle, etc.) Bahamas has Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, the Cayman Islands has the Fraser brothers, Malia Matella is from Martinique or St. Martin's but represents France internationally (and I think her brother raced French Olympic Trials this year), Bradley Alley has one of those little island passports set a US high scool 200 IM record.

Even Martiza Correia could have been a sure Olympic thing for Puerto Rico instead of gambling to make the United States Team.

knelson
May 29th, 2012, 01:02 AM
If you want to expand the Caribbean to include the northern coast of South America, Anthony Nesty of Suriname deserves a mention for sure. His victory in the 100 fly at the Seoul Olympics was one of the greatest races ever!

__steve__
May 29th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Despite bad form, Shaquille O'Neal is surprisingly fast for a beginner

Queen
May 29th, 2012, 09:14 AM
I had a conversation about this with a black woman in Mexico a couple of weeks ago. She is a poor swimmer but her brother was on the swim team, we were trying to figure out why more black people don't swim. We came up with the usual socioeconomic reasons, but she added that especially for black women, chlorinated water does horrific things to their hair, like causing it to break off. She also said many black parents discourage their children from pursuing swimming, due to their own discomfort around water.

AlexP
May 29th, 2012, 10:41 AM
This is an interesting question about which I have not given much thought even though it has been staring me in the face for years. My neighborhood YMCA is a major metropolitan inner-city facility and has been around for about 100 years. It has the usual gym, indoor basketball courts, weight rooms, etc., plus an indoor swimming pool. The membership is predominantly people of color (perhaps 80%) with African Americans being the largest group (perhaps 60%). Yet only about 10% of swimmers are people of color and those are almost exclusively Asians. I am sure the reasons must be social/cultural, but it is surprising given the length of time the YMCA has offered swimming to this community. I'm surprised I never really thought about it before--but then again I see people as people and tend not to think about thier race that often.

k2spitfire
May 29th, 2012, 12:01 PM
peer pressure, and race is definitely still a factor, though i don't know why exactly.

a related observation: in american football, blacks dominate the running back position but are barely breaking into the quarterback position.

Three Rivers
May 30th, 2012, 03:46 PM
Although this article is a few years old, this program has only gotten bigger. Note the mention of Julimar who swam for Honduras recently in a major competition.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/01/15/a_talented_pool/?page=full

Makes you think.

Lui
June 3rd, 2012, 09:02 AM
I thought this article written by a black author is quite interesting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/aug/25/race.olympics2008

guppy
July 2nd, 2012, 08:57 AM
"Black swimmers Increasing Diversity of the U.S. Team"

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/sports/olympics/us-olympic-swimming-trials-lia-neal-reflects-teams-diversity.html?_r=1

EJB190
July 3rd, 2012, 12:32 AM
Too add some points other than segregation...

Swimming is also very expensive compared to other sports because of the pool cost and convenience. It's not like you can't swim like you can throw a basketball or football around with your friends. Skiing and Lacrosse sports with few african americans that are expensive. Statistically speaking on average blacks are poorer than whites and may have less income to spend on expensive sports.

Swimming may also be socially seen as a "white person sport" for a lack of a better term. What I'm trying to say it may just not be considered by the youth. When they look up to successful black athletes, they're all in basketball, football, baseball, track etc. So the kids will probably be more inclined to participate in sports that show success of their race and people they can relate to.

When I competed in high school there were not a lot of black swimmers (I graduated in 2009). That said, Connecticut rural/suburbs don't usually have a lot of African Americans. Since you're from Italy, Connecticut is between New York and Boston.

We did compete with some inner city and more ethnically diverse towns every once and a while. Connecticut's cities (Hartford, Meridan, Bridgeport, etc) are inhabited primarily by minorities and are very impoverished. CT has the highest income and education discrepancies between it's cities and towns.

Even the city teams had very few black swimmers. Most of them were white or hispanic. The cities usually get a lot of funding from the state government so some of them have beautiful pools. My high school didn't have a pool and I lived in a affluent town.

I too have noticed a big increase in asian, middle eastern, and asian swimmers.

lapswimmr
July 3rd, 2012, 11:41 AM
There are many black swimmers on teams all over the country but yes overall they are way out numbered by others. Swimming is a lame sport to many blacks , when all your friends have football and basketball shoes and clothes who wants to swim, and how much respect and recognition do swimmers get compared to stars in football , basketball , or boxing. Plus the money, yes a swimmer can make a million dollars with a gold medal and some more for a while then thats it, NFL and NBA stars can make a million a year plus get lifetime pensions when they retire from the sport in addition to all the endorsement money.

scrabblegirl
July 3rd, 2012, 10:09 PM
Hello, here is my experience with swimming.

As a black woman growing up in Chicago, swimming wasn't mentioned too much in our household. Even though I was raised in a middle class family and my parents could afford lessons, my brother and I never expressed interest in learning. We didn't have a pool and the local park didn't have one.

One of my earliest memories of ever having a swim lesson was at day camp at the Y. I remember the instructor not having much patience and being a shy and nervous little girl, that made me not want to try anymore. I went to a private, integrated high school and we didn't have a pool. I ended up on the basketball and track and field teams. My interest in swimming didn't pick up until later in life. Now that I'm in my 40s and trying to learn, I wish I would have tried again at an earlier age.

Not too long ago, a radio station had a discussion that one of the reasons some black women don't swim is because of their hair. The opinions were mixed. A lot of maintenance is needed to take care of our hair whether it's natural or relaxed and a trip to the salon can cost a lot of money.

I'm proud that my 15 year old nephew and his brothers are good swimmers because of their mother. Her side of the family go fishing frequently so knowing how to swim is a must.

Crawfishlova
July 3rd, 2012, 11:24 PM
I'm black and I've always wanted to learn how to swim but didn't have access to a pool and having relaxed hair most of my life any time in the pool could damage my hair. No one in my family knows how to swim but me. I didn't learn to swim till I hit my 30s and I've done several swim meets and do triathlons almost every month.

lapswimmr
July 3rd, 2012, 11:39 PM
As I said there are many black swimmers nationwide, someday one of these swimmers male or female will become a superstar and that will create more swimming intrest with everyone just as Tiger Woods broke into golf and became a star and he has givin the golf game a bost for all.

Hair care is a important issue with all female swimmers and relaxed styles and perms hair coloring, require alot of care and chlorine is damaging to everyones hair, salon costs yes can be much higher for swimmers, for swimmers who swim for fun and exercise there are swim cap options that can prevent much of the damage.

See http://www.reocities.com/lapswimr/swimband.html

for some details on easy ways to protect hair from chlorine damage. the home made band can be worn under or over a swim cap or both and the combo of cap and band shown on the page is very effective. After swimming a quick blow dry is useually all thats needed, a bit of conditioner applied lightly to the ends also can help before slipping on the band and cap.

knelson
July 4th, 2012, 01:14 AM
As I said there are many black swimmers nationwide, someday one of these swimmers male or female will become a superstar and that will create more swimming intrest with everyone just as Tiger Woods broke into golf and became a star and he has givin the golf game a bost for all.

I guess they aren't quite at Tiger Woods' level, but what about Anthony Ervin and Cullen Jones? Both have won Olympic gold medals--Ervin individually and Jones on a relay.

swimlong
July 4th, 2012, 02:35 AM
Interesting that hair is given as a reason many black women don't swim. A fairly recent article in Runners World addressed the issue of why running is predominantly a "white sport" in N. America; one of their conclusions had to do with hair care, too.

I find it unsettling that our society puts appearance above fitness. Is hair really so important that it should stop a person from working out?

gobears
July 4th, 2012, 10:13 AM
I find it unsettling that our society puts appearance above fitness. Is hair really so important that it should stop a person from working out?

Agreed! It would be nice if women felt the freedom to skip all the excessive primping we've been conditioned to believe we need. Of course, I skip most of it already, but I think I'm far from the norm...

aquageek
July 4th, 2012, 10:27 AM
As I said there are many black swimmers nationwide, someday one of these swimmers male or female will become a superstar and that will create more swimming intrest with everyone just as Tiger Woods broke into golf and became a star and he has givin the golf game a bost for all.

Um, Cullen Jones. Hello.

ElaineK
July 4th, 2012, 10:46 AM
Um, Cullen Jones. Hello.

:cheerleader: Gold in the 2008 relay, 2nd in the 100 free and 1st in the 50 free, at Olympic Trials, this year. "Hello" is right! :banana:

So, Geek, what is your prediction for Cullen at the Olympics?

FindingMyInnerFish
July 4th, 2012, 11:59 AM
:cheerleader: Gold in the 2008 relay, 2nd in the 100 free and 1st in the 50 free, at Olympic Trials, this year. "Hello" is right! :banana:

So, Geek, what is your prediction for Cullen at the Olympics?

I was rooting for Cullen Jones in that 50 free. The announcers didn't even mention him as a contender, which I thought odd, given that he had been 2nd in the 100. Glad he made them pay attention!

ViveBene
July 4th, 2012, 01:23 PM
Interesting that hair is given as a reason many black women don't swim. A fairly recent article in Runners World addressed the issue of why running is predominantly a "white sport" in N. America; one of their conclusions had to do with hair care, too.

I find it unsettling that our society puts appearance above fitness. Is hair really so important that it should stop a person from working out?

It isn't just cosmesis.

People can find fitness doing other things.

__steve__
July 4th, 2012, 01:40 PM
Ervin and Jones, which one will have silver, and the other, gold in August for the 50 fr?:cheerleader:

ElaineK
July 4th, 2012, 02:02 PM
Ervin and Jones, which one will have silver, and the other, gold in August for the 50 fr?:cheerleader:

I hope it turns out that both Ervin and Jones end up on the podium, but I am :cheerleader: for Cullen Jones to get the gold! :banana:

andrears
July 7th, 2012, 10:58 PM
And this band with the cap keeps the entire head dry? I would be ecstatic if I could avoid shampooing and blow drying my hair every time I swim.... :bitching:


As I said there are many black swimmers nationwide, someday one of these swimmers male or female will become a superstar and that will create more swimming intrest with everyone just as Tiger Woods broke into golf and became a star and he has givin the golf game a bost for all.

Hair care is a important issue with all female swimmers and relaxed styles and perms hair coloring, require alot of care and chlorine is damaging to everyones hair, salon costs yes can be much higher for swimmers, for swimmers who swim for fun and exercise there are swim cap options that can prevent much of the damage.

See http://www.reocities.com/lapswimr/swimband.html

for some details on easy ways to protect hair from chlorine damage. the home made band can be worn under or over a swim cap or both and the combo of cap and band shown on the page is very effective. After swimming a quick blow dry is useually all thats needed, a bit of conditioner applied lightly to the ends also can help before slipping on the band and cap.

lapswimmr
July 7th, 2012, 11:19 PM
If you get it in place just right with the mirror in the locker room it works wonders. You may still experience some sweating if its a warm pool and mistake that for a bit of water entering, it works well for me and others. the trick is pulling the inner cap or band down low over the ears, the ear is where most caps leak, look at swimmers see how many have a bit of the ear showing on their caps edge , silicon is prefered for the inner cap, then the outer bubble strap "double cap" snug in a head size pulled over that. The band also can be placed over a cap to seal the edge as well as inside or both, the tighter the caps however the less comfortable. Bubble caps are available in lots of colors and three head sizes small, med and large. You will have to experiment to see what works for you.

Heres input from one swimmer. the Longhair Community site has a great forum for hair care

Limiting Chlorine Damage - The Long Hair Community Discussion Boards

Bobinator
July 8th, 2012, 05:26 PM
If you want to expand the Caribbean to include the northern coast of South America, Anthony Nesty of Suriname deserves a mention for sure. His victory in the 100 fly at the Seoul Olympics was one of the greatest races ever!

I remember that race! He was fast as lightning and a very slick swimmer!

no200fly
July 9th, 2012, 11:12 AM
http://www.dallasnews.com/health/headlines/20120702-scared-to-swim-not-the-ticket-s-donovan-lewis.-not-anymore..ece

A local radio personalty on a popular all sports station confided on the air that he could not swim and wished that he could. Enter local Masters coach, Dirk Ebel, who volunteered to provide lessons. Hopefully the coverage will prompt others to learn as well.

Three Rivers
July 10th, 2012, 03:57 PM
Bryant Gumbel's representatives contacted our coach in an effort to do some sort of segment that detailed the problems with the inability to swim and the consequences that result. Especially for minority kids. But the coach said he wouldn't do it. His kids are good swimmers. Fast swimmers. Real competitors. He told the network that if they wanted to come do something that detailed how GOOD his kids were, they could come. He was turned down. I understand where the network is coming from but I also understand where the coach is coming from too.

Three of his kids were highlighted in the documntary about Cullen Jones and Maritza Correia.

knelson
July 13th, 2012, 04:40 PM
Just saw a story in the Seattle Times written by someone in their 30s who finally took the plunge and learned to swim:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2018589756_pacificpswimming15.html

It's always inspiring to hear about someone learning to swim as an adult. I'm sure it's terrifying and embarrassing, but--hopefully--ultimately exhilarating and empowering!

no200fly
July 16th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Just saw a story in the Seattle Times written by someone in their 30s who finally took the plunge and learned to swim:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2018589756_pacificpswimming15.html

It's always inspiring to hear about someone learning to swim as an adult. I'm sure it's terrifying and embarrassing, but--hopefully--ultimately exhilarating and empowering!

Good story. I always dread the stories on every warm holiday in which one or more people drown at local lakes. I have often thought that it would be great if the local high school or USAS teams could sponsor a weekend program to at least try to drown proof some of the kids who would not otherwise have access to lessons.

Maybe Masters teams could do something similar for adults.

quicksilver
July 16th, 2012, 11:58 AM
Good story. I always dread the stories on every warm holiday in which one or more people drown at local lakes. I have often thought that it would be great if the local high school or USAS teams could sponsor a weekend program to at least try to drown proof some of the kids who would not otherwise have access to lessons.

Maybe Masters teams could do something similar for adults.

Sadly we just had drowning at a local pond where the bottom drops from four feet to eighteen feet without any warning. The victim was from the city and was a non swimmer. Having grown up in the borough of the Bronx we had very few kids in the area who had access to pools and in my opinion it was due largely because of economic reasons. Inner city youth have limited resources and their only outlet is either on the courts or on the field.

That said Cullen Jones has made it a mission to expose as many kids as possible to the water and give them a leg up on the basics. (By the way Anthony Ervin is also African American and he too is involved as a youth advocate for the sport.)

Not sure if anyone noticed the 100 free finals at our recent Olympic Trials but Lia Neal (of NYC and AGUA) who just turned seventeen, made the team for the 4 x 100 relay. She came in fourth just ahead of Natalie Coughlin. At 13 years old she smashed the national record in the 100 meter free which stood for 23 years...along with a new 50 meter free record (25.8).

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/sports/olympics/us-olympic-swimming-trials-lia-neal-reflects-teams-diversity.html


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/0907/where.will.they.be/content.13.html

mino
July 18th, 2012, 08:21 PM
It's true segregation has led to many "white" sports having no black people represented. How can a tradition take off in a culture that has no access to clean pools?

knelson
July 19th, 2012, 12:39 AM
How can a tradition take off in a culture that has no access to clean pools?

I think that has changed a lot in the last few decades. Most cities now really concentrate on providing recreation facilities in poorer areas. Not to say there aren't exceptions, but I'll betcha these days most major cities have nice public pools available in neighborhoods with high concentrations of minorities. The next step is getting the families in these areas to use the pools and to sign their kids up for swim lessons. In my personal experience it's working. I swim at a public pool in a fairly well off area of the city. I would say at least half the kids I see taking lessons are minorities. Muslims seem to be especially proactive in signing their children up for lessons.

That Guy
July 19th, 2012, 12:50 AM
http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/USA/31248.asp

jaadams1
July 19th, 2012, 12:51 AM
I think that has changed a lot in the last few decades. Most cities now really concentrate on providing recreation facilities in poorer areas. Not to say there aren't exceptions, but I'll betcha these days most major cities have nice public pools available in neighborhoods with high concentrations of minorities. The next step is getting the families in these areas to use the pools and to sign their kids up for swim lessons. In my personal experience it's working. I swim at a public pool in a fairly well off area of the city. I would say at least half the kids I see taking lessons are minorities. Muslims seem to be especially proactive in signing their children up for lessons.

In the Wenatchee area, I've noticed at the three swimming facilities that a large % of the kids in the swim lessons this summer are hispanic. Part of this could be because of the multiple recent drownings over the past year in the Wenatchee area that have got significant news coverage. 4 drownings, all 4 being hispanic. 1 in the H.S. pool during class, 1 in a motel pool (unguarded), and the other two in the river or lake (also unguarded). Out of my son's swim lesson class, all are hispanic...my son included. He's 50/50, but we always claim hispanic on all information sheets. You never know when it'll give him an advantage sometime in the future.

mjtyson
July 19th, 2012, 02:47 PM
Good story. I always dread the stories on every warm holiday in which one or more people drown at local lakes. I have often thought that it would be great if the local high school or USAS teams could sponsor a weekend program to at least try to drown proof some of the kids who would not otherwise have access to lessons.

I remember hearing on public radio many years ago a story about a county whose incidents of drowning grew huge over the years. Thing was, the county had stopped requiring swimming classes in the elementary schools, and the drownings increased as the required classes ceased. The county finally recognized this and the drowning rate went down.

smontanaro
July 19th, 2012, 02:59 PM
I remember hearing on public radio many years ago a story about a county whose incidents of drowning grew huge over the years. Thing was, the county had stopped requiring swimming classes in the elementary schools, and the drownings increased as the required classes ceased. The county finally recognized this and the drowning rate went down.

Do you recall how they tackled this problem? Did they add swim classes back into the school curriculum or offer more summertime learn-to-swim classes, or something else?

S

mjtyson
July 19th, 2012, 04:04 PM
Do you recall how they tackled this problem? Did they add swim classes back into the school curriculum or offer more summertime learn-to-swim classes, or something else?

S

They brought swimming back into the school curriculum, making it mandatory. I think it's a good idea.

smontanaro
July 19th, 2012, 04:09 PM
They brought swimming back into the school curriculum, making it mandatory. I think it's a good idea.

I agree. It's also quite rare for a school district to add anything these days.

S

EJB190
July 19th, 2012, 05:06 PM
I always wondered what it'd be like to have swimming in gym. Do they even do that anymore? Seems like a lot of time, money, and potential issues (ex. Fat kid's parents sueing the school for making him wear a being suit or whatever other nonsense happens these days)

knelson
July 19th, 2012, 05:16 PM
I always wondered what it'd be like to have swimming in gym.

I had it in both junior high and high school.

jaadams1
July 19th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I had it in both junior high and high school.

Our school disticts do it both in about 4th grade and again in high school. I think it's better to have the 4th graders doing the swimming, because your body will "remember" the skills better than trying to learn for the first time at an older age.

Karl_S
July 19th, 2012, 05:53 PM
...Fat kid's parents sueing the school for making him wear a being suit...
That's a laugh. When I had swimming in middle-school PE class we wore nothing at all. After a few days of that nonsense those of us who were competitive swimmers started to bring our own suits because swimming in the buff is neither comfortable or fast if you are actually swimming.

AlexP
July 20th, 2012, 08:38 AM
I always wondered what it'd be like to have swimming in gym. Do they even do that anymore? Seems like a lot of time, money, and potential issues (ex. Fat kid's parents sueing the school for making him wear a being suit or whatever other nonsense happens these days)

As teenagers, we (boys) had swimming as part of gym class in school, a generation ago, but it was a free swim (recreational, completely disorganized and without any instruction or drills, etc.). Fun, but largely a waste of time, and a huge missed opportunity to teach/learn/accomplish something useful and important. Like Karl S., we swam nude during gym class--that was the custom for males then--so swimsuits weren't an issue, but you could be right; in today's litigious culture a local school board might get sued for asking a kid to wear a bathing suit during school hours, not to mention the fact that if little Johnny just doesn't want to do something, well that might constitute another reason to run to court or at least fire the teacher, principal and superintendent. But that nonsense doesn't necessarily turn a good idea (or at least an intriguing idea) into a bad idea.

The college I attended required all undergraduate students, male and female, to pass a very basic swim test before they could get a bachelor's degree, but that requirement went the way of the dinosaurs the year I graduated. (I read that the college swim test had been a common requirement at many New England colleges--and maybe elsewhere--throughout the 20th century, inspired by the drowning on the Titanic of a non-swimmer Harvard student (Widener, for whom the library is named), not that being a swimmer would have helped him that much.

The issue of whether swimming should be taught somewhere in the educational system is a very good question. Ideally, it ought to be introduced earlier, for example in elementary school, before many kids develop a fear of water and when kids seem to learn easier and retain better what they've learned. I think the biggest challenge would be financial: most public schools do not have pools (as far as I know), and building them would probably be cost-prohibitive. (The only reason we had swimming as part of gym class was because our school was so old it had no gymnasium, so boys had their gym classes at a nearby YMCA that also had a pool.) On the other hand, what is the value of the lives that might be saved, not to mention improved and extended through healthier lifestyles resulting from having learned an activity that one can engage in regardless of age, especially in view of the huge amounts of money that governments waste on so many things?

selkie
July 23rd, 2012, 08:40 PM
http://www.foxsports.com.au/olympic-games/nba-star-kobe-bryant-in-awe-of-australian-swimming-at-london-olympics/story-fn5k3iok-1226430524535


Bryant spent time signing autographs and posing for photos before asking for a few mementos himself.


The LA Lakers shooting guard asked Stephanie Rice to sign a swimming cap for his two daughters, who are passionate about their swimming.

selkie
July 25th, 2012, 10:13 AM
http://reachforthewall.com/2012/07/19/a-prince-georges-pool-builds-an-african-american-swimming-powerhouse/

AlexP
July 26th, 2012, 12:39 PM
The Boston Globe - Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mandatory swimming lessons a lifeline in Boston

The Boys & Girls Club of Boston is nearly one year into an initiative requiring all members to take swim lessons. The program, launched last fall, is part of an aggressive approach to combat child drowning deaths ó especially among the cityís black and Hispanic children, who are at a significantly higher risk of drowning. The approach taken by the Boys & Girls Club of Boston mirrors efforts nationwide to increase swimming rates among children of color.






http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2012/07/26/for-boys-girls-club-boston-swimming-lessons-framed-parental-fears/UPGFPnacusCkh8MHxlXxNK/story.html

selkie
August 2nd, 2012, 08:56 AM
Coralie Balmy picked up a bronze in the 4x200 FR last night:

http://www.london2012.com/athlete/balmy-coralie-1121549/

Ripple
August 3rd, 2012, 09:38 PM
Fourth in the 100m breast stroke isn't too shabby.
Alia Atkinson of Jamaica:
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/Alia-Atkinson-s-inspiring-effort-needs-support_12135168
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120730/lead/images/Alia-Atkinson.jpg

orca1946
August 3rd, 2012, 11:36 PM
Cullen Jones just took 2 nd in the 50 free at the Olympics.:applaud::banana:

Janus
August 5th, 2012, 02:18 AM
I hope that you can read this outside the UK, but an article on female African swimmers at the Olympics from The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/london-2012-olympics-blog/2012/aug/03/london-2012-slow-swimmers

ElaineK
August 5th, 2012, 10:35 PM
Cullen Jones just took 2 nd in the 50 free at the Olympics.:applaud::banana:

WoooHOOOO! I was so happy he beat Cielo for the silver. :cheerleader: I was ticked off at NBC, though, for doing a big feature story on Cielo, talking a bit about Ervin, then introducing Cullen as "the other American..." :bitching: Whaaaaat? And, Cullen ended up beating Ervin. :banana:

I'm happy for Cullen; he is taking home some nice hardware after his 50 and relays. :bliss:

joshua
August 6th, 2012, 11:16 AM
I have been following this thread and here are my thoughts:

The basic question, as I see it, is this: is there a connection between race and certain physical abilities? The question arises naturally when you take into account the lack of black success in swimming, the total domination of people of western African descent in the sprints and the same dominance of east Africans in the long distance runs.

The truth is that we don't know because there is, to the best of my knowledge, no real scientific research on the matter. It is a very delicate subject that brings bad memories. Also, undoubtedly there are many social, economical and even psychological factors involved.

Having said all that, I have to honestly state that all these factors do not satisfy me. Since the lack of black success in swimming has been discussed greatly here, allow me to address running.

All top men 100m. sprinters and nearly all women are of west African descent. The 10 second barrier has been broken 82 times, only one sprinter was white. Lack of black success in swimming can perhaps be explained to a large degree (but not totally IMHO) by social and economic factors, but running is trickier. There are plenty of white sprinters, especially in eastern Europe. They have good coaching and excellent facilities. There is also a great running tradition. Why don't they make it to the top?

The same question can be asked about the distance races. The sport of distance running is totally dominated by east Africans. Why? There is a great distance running tradition in many western countries, yet very very few world or Olympic champions.

Therefore, I would have to say that this entire question is an open issue.