By Ebony Rosemond – February 10,2017 – Washington Post
Ebony Rosemond is the founder of Black Kids Swim
Photo: The Sycamore Club Pool in Bowie in 2006. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
While police killings of black people sometimes attract front-page attention, black lives lost due to drowning are largely ignored.
In wealthy, majority-black Prince George’s County, not a single elementary, middle or high school has a pool. Nevertheless, Sean Barbour, a recent DeMatha High School graduate, broke records as a member of the Theresa Banks Swim Club’s 200-medley relay team and is now a freshman at La Salle University. Absalom Bolling, a student at the new all-boys Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington, is ranked 18th in the 200-meter butterfly in Potomac Valley Swimming — one of the nation’s most competitive swimming groups. Barbour, Bolling and other black swimmers earn scholarships to private high schools and universities.
But what is normal in the Washington suburbs is a rarity in neighborhoods across the United States. More commonly, a black child will be the only one on a team of more than 100 swimmers, like Sydney Hearn, who swims for the Sylvania Tsunami Swim Club in Ohio. USA Swimming, the nation’s organizing body for the sport, has some 337,000 members — of whom only 1.3 percent are black.