Olympic champs throw a lifeline to poor kids who can’t swim This June 2015 photo provided by the USA Swimming Foundation shows Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones giving a swimming lesson to a child in Nederland, Texas, as part of the USA Swimming Foundation's Make a Splash program. (USA Swimming Foundation via AP)
Olympic champs throw a lifeline to poor kids who can’t swim
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Missy Franklin, Cullen Jones, Rowdy Gaines and a handful of other Olympic champions are climbing into the pool this summer. They want to help American kids learn how to swim.
 
They've got plenty of work to do.
 
The USA Swimming Foundation's most recent survey was released May 31. It found nearly 64 percent of African-American kids, 45 percent of Hispanic kids and 79 percent of children in families that bring in less than $50,000 in annual income have little or no swimming ability.
 
The foundation is issuing $324,000 in grants this year. They will go towards its Make A Splash program. The grants will help fund reduced-cost swim lessons. These will go to more than 25,000 children at 71 pools. The grants are spaced across 25 states. The foundation has provided more than $4.3 million since 2007 to help fund learn-to-swim programs across the country.
 
"We need to keep a sustained effort to introduce children to swimming. And drive the important message that learning to swim can save your life," said Debbie Hesse. She is the USA Swimming Foundation executive director.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people drown every day in the United States. About a quarter of those are younger than 14. The CDC says African-American children drown at a rate nearly 5.5 times higher than white children.
 
The study is a follow-up to one first conducted by researchers at the University of Memphis. That was in 2010. In that survey, 70 percent of African-American children and nearly 60 percent of Hispanics had little or no swimming ability. The numbers have improved slightly over the past seven years. But they still paint a harrowing picture.
 
"The end goal is to create real solutions designed to ensure children are safer in the water. Especially minority youth who are at a higher risk of drowning," said Carol Irwin. She is the study's principal investigator.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is swimming a bigger challenge for some kids?
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COMMENTS (9)
  • aliviar-kut1
    6/06/2017 - 09:48 p.m.

    Its great that these kids who don't have swimming abilities get to learn from professionals. its crazy how many of these kids are drowning a year. These kids learning how to swim is literally life changing to them.

  • anastasiag-kut
    6/07/2017 - 06:34 a.m.

    That is really cool. Not only is the splash program helping the kids learn how to swim its socializing the kids also. The kids also won't feel ashamed anymore because they learned that they aren't the only kids who don't know how to swim.
    Swimming is bigger challenge for some kids because, they don't have a body of water by where they live, they have never gone swimming, or they cant afford swimming lessons.
    My only question with this is that, what if the kids who don't know how to swim don't have one of the 75 pools that they're supposed to go to too learn how to swim?

  • tarynk-kut
    6/07/2017 - 07:44 a.m.

    Swimming is a bigger challenge for most kids because they haven't had any swimming lessons at the age of about 5 or 6 years old. Some people that are teens or adults fear the water because they never learned how to swim.

  • mitchellh-kut
    6/07/2017 - 07:57 a.m.

    this articular is about how kids can't swim and Olympic swimming camps help kids who can't swim like swimming with them and throwing lifeline for kids to swim and they made a fundraiser for them to get better swimming supplies and to help kids for more trainer to learn how to swim

  • vivienb-kut
    6/07/2017 - 08:04 a.m.

    This is so sweet/nice of Missy Franklin, Cullen Jones, Rowdy Gaines and the others to do! I can't believe 10 people drown every day in the U.S. alone! At least the numbers got better in the last 7 years!:)

  • ninah-kut
    6/07/2017 - 09:27 a.m.

    Swimming is a bigger challenge for some kids because some kids live in countries where there is more poverty than others. And they make a lower income so they cant afford the costs of a swimsuit or googles and many other fun sports equipment or activities. I think that its really good that the Olympic swimmers gave these kids a chance to learn how to swim and have a chance of some fun.

  • quinw-kut
    6/07/2017 - 04:18 p.m.

    In 2010, 70 percent of African-American children and almost 60 percent of Hispanics had little or no swimming experience, but these Olympic swimmers spend their own time to teach kids. This is my opinion, but the organization is really unique because the idea to have these poor kids/families to get a swimming education is so thoughtful. Raising 4.3 million dollars since 2007 to teach families how to swim is amazing.

  • avam-kut
    6/07/2017 - 10:12 p.m.

    This is so awesome because kids who don't have that much money or that they are poor they don't get to do as much things. Poor kids don't get to experience what it's like.And that they provided $4.3 million dollars that is amazing that how much people care that these kids want to do this type of thing

  • annam-kut
    6/07/2017 - 10:19 p.m.

    This is really amazing for Missy franklin, Cullen Jones , Rowdy Gaines and alot more people to do this for kids who don't have the ability to swim. 10 people drown each day which is really sad.

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