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Thread: Why don't black Americans swim?

  1. #76
    Elite Member sweetness's Avatar
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    We had a community pool in our neighborhood, so my mom (who couldn't swim) sent me for swimming lessons when I was 4. The so-called instructor was a sadistic bitch from hell. Her "lessons" left me terrified of the water. Mom said she could hear me screaming all the way from our house, which was about 1/4 of a mile away.

    I later learned techniques on my own (dog paddling, floating), so I could most likely save myself, but not anyone else. To this day I panic if anyone tries to hold onto me in the water. I do love the water, but just want to be able to chill out on a float. I'll go into the ocean no deeper than my waist.

    Thankfully my kids are all great swimmers, taught by relatives. They have access to my mom's pool, which is kickass. She converted it to salt water and it's so much nicer (to us) than the chemically smelling chlorine. Much easier on your hair, skin, and swimsuits too. Also cheaper to maintain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctora Pepper View Post
    I remember a particularly traumatizing trip to Galveston when I was 8. My mom took me rather deep into the ocean and wouldn't let me return to shore until I had swum 20 laps. I started panicking that I would drown or get stung by a jellyfish, so I kept my eyes open the whole time and ended up a stinging eyed, crying, panicking mess. I still had to do my 20 laps, and my mom was mad at me the rest of the day to boot. Luckily I'm not so afraid of the ocean anymore and I do like swimming (in pools, mostly).
    Okay I'm having a panic attack just reading your story..... sending you some hugs, my friend.


    Quote Originally Posted by LynnieD View Post
    HOWEVER, clearly its because they have been exposed to it, early and often. If you don't have access to water, why would you learn to swim? I guess I can see why kids/adults don't learn.

    PS: Swimming is NOT a part of our cirriculium in school, and I don't think it is now either where I live.
    Exactly. It's not part of the curriculum here either, most schools do not have pools or access to them. Makes it kinda hard to practice. So many parents are struggling financially. Swimming lessons would be considered a luxury.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    How old can a child be to learn to swim?
    Supposedly we are born knowing how to swim, it comes naturally. BUT if you wait too long to be exposed it gets lost. I've seen videos of infants being turned loose in the water and swim like lil fishes. Starting them off at about 6 months old is probably a good idea. Let them start getting used to it and all.


    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    i didn't grow up in the 70s and i was in eastern canada and we had square dancing in school as well. thankfully not for very long but still, it was a part of our gym class. and it sucked.
    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    is north america is full of hicks? did everyone west of the hudson have to square dance? our school system didn't offer that particular form of child abuse.
    I've lived in the southeastern part of the US (allegedly hickville) my whole life and have never even heard of this!!

    Quote Originally Posted by travelbug View Post
    Haven't had a chance to read this whole thread yet, but just wanted to add my observation that I go to the beach for a week every year and I don't think I've ever seen a black person on the beach.

    I worked with a black man once who told me that a lot of black people go to Hilton Head, SC. I don't understand why there wouldn't be the same racial mixture on the beaches of NC as there is anywhere else.
    Not sure. I've always gone to Daytona Beach, Florida and there are plenty of black folks there. They are in the minority, it's mostly whites, but still quite a racial mix. I always see kids of all colors in the pool and in the ocean. Most of the moms are chilling out on the side.

  2. #77
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    We went on a snorkelling day trip on the Great Barrier Reef. A boat took us to a large pontoon thing and it was a matter of simply walking down a ramp and into the water. Everyone was required to wear life jackets and obviously a snorkel/mask/fins.

    Well, among the people there was a large group of Japanese tourists who, as usual, decided they ALL wanted to go snorkelling as a group which was fine except NONE of them could swim. They ALL got into the water at the same time and ALL proceeded to more or less drown because they didn't know how to breathe with a snorkel. There was lifeguards/staff there who all jumped in and pulled them out of the water back onto the pontoon where they lay coughing and choking for a good 10 minutes. I have to say it did cause a huge amount of amusement among the onlookers. Mean but true.
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

  3. #78
    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    WTH is up with that?^ People who can not swim have no business near water of any kind.

  4. #79
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    I know! I asked one of the lifeguards if it happened very often and his exact words in a very weary voice were "all the fucking time" LOL
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Swimming was part of the curriculum at my school, from the first year of junior school all through until you finally left school. We did all the usual stuff like having to "rescue" a rubber brick from the bottom of the pool while wearing our pyjamas too. I could swim before I started going with the school, but not very well as Ma Kitty is one of nature's bricks (possibly because she has a fear of water, too), but she insisted that I attend the swimming lessons at school every week to ensure that my brother and I didn't end up like her. The end result is that I love to swim.

    Also, AFAIK a lot of places will accept babies into parent/child swimming groups as soon as the child has had their vaccinations. Babies are natural floaters and can be taught to swim very easily and from a very, very young age.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1wLVmgChOc[/youtube]


    ETA: Soj I feel your pain. We had to take combined drama and dance lessons in the first two years of senior (High) school until we were given the option of dropping it in favour of another lesson. They made us learn line dancing, folk dancing and in one especially horrible lesson our teacher Miss Tennant made us pretend that we were dancing trees to Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence. The memory of being a teen and having to shuffle about in front of my classmates, waving my arms above my head while Miss T wafted around with us (as she was also being a tree) calling out "Wemember! You are a twee! A beautiful, beautiful twee on a bweezy day!" is seared into my memory. And not in a good way.
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  6. #81
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Alright I'm mega-jellus of that baby's ability to not freak out at water in his face and nose.

  7. #82
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    I used to teach swimming and the #1 priority before you start worrying about technique, etc, is being comfortable holding your breath and putting your whole face/head under water, even for a couple of seconds. Once you conquer that fear the rest is easy.

    One trick is to get a large bowl of warm water, put it on a table then hold your breath and your nose if you want to, close your eyes and bend over to put your face in the water. Not your whole head, just the face. Stay there for 3-4 seconds (holding your breath!) and then stand up again and breathe normally. Don't wipe your face dry, get used to the sensation of the water. Keep doing it, maybe increasing the amount of time by a couple of seconds or so when you feel confident to do so and maybe open your eyes too when you are ready. It's amazing how much more confident and in control you will feel when you do go to the pool next time because you won't be worried about getting your face wet.
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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    Great video Kitty. That's what I don't get. Why isn't it just natural for people to swim? I had an experience of minding my own biz in a popular swimming area on a river and was out splashing around, and this guy floating by asked me if I could help him. He said he couldn't swim and was in trouble. Haven't had a life saving lesson in a long time, but it all came back quickly as I did my best to swim out to him, do the hold around his arm and head and swim him back to shore. I had a lot of trouble getting there too, and I had to yell for a help once I got close to shore, I was exhausted. Once he was out of the water, I was a little shocked. He was a very large young man, tall and muscular with our local Mexican gang tats on his neck. He was extremely grateful and humble. I was an out of shape mid 30's mom with a couple beers in me.
    Don't jump into rivers if you can't swim people. Still trying to figure out this strange phenomenon of non swimmers getting in any water.

  9. #84
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    I think they figure exactly what you said, Shouldn't it be natural for people to swim? Maybe it won't be so bad, maybe I can get the hang of it if I just jump in. That sort of mentality. Then the panic sets in and they make it even worse for themselves. At least he kept his cool enough to float and ask for help!

  10. #85
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    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3gAK5At9gc&feature=related[/YOUTUBE]

  11. #86
    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    Yeah I guess. I saw a video of people cliff diving (jumping off), and as one guy was being drug out with a broken back because there were huge rocks where they were diving, another guy dove in and he hit the rocks too. Both severely injured. I think it's plain stupidity.

  12. #87
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    That looks pretty terrifying to me, I'm positive I'd panic at my hands and feet being bound. I'd need a LOT of time to get used to that.

    Sprynkles, yeah the rocks thing is just plain stupid.

  13. #88
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    I took swimming for one quarter in junior high school - I already knew how, but it sounded like way more fun than track - and there were quite a few black girls, especially considering the school was predominantly white. They ALL wore swim caps, whether they had treated hair or not, which really wasn't a bad idea, that pool was extra chlorinated. I always came out feeling like I'd flushed my sinuses with pure bleach.

  14. #89
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    My goddaughter started around 6 months. One of the techniques they used was to sit bub on the side of the pool and start singing "Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, humpty dumpty had a great fall"... and mum would drop her baby into the pool and quickly turn her baby the right side up to teach her to head to the surface if she ever fell into the pool. Sounds harsh but it works. She is 3 years old now, loves the water and swims like a fish.
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

  15. #90
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    Erm, is that navy training video designed to help people gain confidence under water?
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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