Did you know? A recent Red Cross survey found that more than half of all Americans either can’t swim or don’t have all the basic swimming skills needed for optimum safety.

Still, many individuals turned to the outdoors for leisure amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As restaurants closed, events were canceled, and other indoor activities were restricted, many sought out water-based activities for stress relief and entertainment. These activities are expected to remain elevated in the months ahead, and as a result, rising concerns of drowning risks underline the urgent need for formal swim instruction to all individuals who cannot save themselves in the event of a water accident.

Non-Profit Aims to Reduce Racial Disparities in Swimming

Swimming disparities place African Americans at an even greater risk of drowning. According to Stop Drowning Now, sixty-four percent of African American children have few to no swimming skills, with the percentage for children and young adults increasing to seventy-eight when their parents have no-to-low swimming skills.

These alarming statistics, in part, led Tanya Walker to found Black Women Who Kayak+, a non-profit aiming to increase opportunities for African Americans. Black Women Who Kayak+ helps their members achieve what they have always wanted to do but didn’t have the resources to do so, like swimming lessons, kayaking, and more. Since organizing in 2018, they’ve helped more than 100 women learn how to swim, starting with the basics!

Christina Mays, a member of the non-profit organization, has been taking swimming lessons at British Swim School in Austin. She recently shared:

“I wish I would have done it a long time ago because it’s kind of like, ‘Gosh, I could’ve really enjoyed a lot of different things.’”

British Swim School’s Partnership with Black Women Who Kayak+

In support of our mission that every individual should have the opportunity to become a safe and happy swimmer, British Swim School of Austin has partnered with Black Women Who Kayak+ and their members to offer swimming lessons at a discounted price. Brian Borchardt, the owner of British Swim School in Austin, recognized the need and jumped eagerly at the opportunity to get involved.

Brian was recently invited by Tanya Walker and Christina Mays from the non-profit to discuss the opportunity with KXAN Austin, an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Austin, Texas. Watch the segment, below!

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