Several recent drownings in North Carolina are drawing attention to an unsettling gap when it comes to minorities and swimming. About 70 percent of black children do not know how to swim, compared to 40 percent of white kids.
A study by USA Swimming blames the gap on income and lack of inner-city pools. For decades, segregation kept minorities out of swimming pools. The disparity continues because of lack of access, but the No. 1 reason is fear.
“The parents have been afraid of water all their life, so that’s the biggest barrier between them and wanting to get their child to learn to swim,” Simmons YMCA Aquatics Director Dave Buskey said.