Water safety skills are a very necessary skills that all people (young, old, black, and white) should learn for their safety and overall quality of life. The African American community, in particular, has great disparities when it comes to drowning and other aquatics related accidents. Research shows that African- American and Hispanics have disproportionately no/low swimming ability. Many of us are working hard to increase the the amount of Black and Hispanic people who are not proficient in swimming.
For this years International Water Safety Day, BlackGirlSwim, Diversity In Aquatics, Swim Life Fitness, and Afro Swimmers came together and challenged all of our followers to tell the world that they were #watersafety through a #IamWaterSafety GiveAway!!!! Our goal was to inform people about Water Safety Day, the importance of learning water safety and other aquatic skills.
We wanted to our followers to share their experiences in aquatics by telling us two ways that they stay safe in and around the water in a video and tell everyone that they are #WaterSafety!
There were many people who entered the #IAmWaterSafety GiveAway Contest and all of the videos were great and I would like to thank everyone who participated. However, there was one special young lady who did an AMAZING JOB with her video! We chose Ms. Jazmin-Rose (@thejazminrose) as the winner of the giveaway! She loves to swim and is blessed to have a support system helping her to achieve her goals in swimming! She is learning the importance of being safe in and around the water! I know that Jazmin-Rose will accomplish so much as swimmer and that she will be as safe as she can be while doing it.
I want to thank all of the organizations/companies that contributed to the #IAmWaterSafety Swag Bag (Howard University Swim and Dive Team, SheraNichole Shop, Black Kids Swim, Diversity in Aquatics, SwimLife Fitness, and Afro Swimmers).
As we enter in to the summer swim season, please remember to be mindful, aware, safe out there, especially when you are in and around the water!
Stay tuned for the next Black Girl Swim Challenge and GiveAway!!!
No Person Is An Island Unto Themselves
It is an amazing and eye opening experience when you have the chance to work with people who have similar goals! This year, I invited my friends, Adrienne Wesley, owner of Swim Life Fitness, LLC & Swim Coach (@coachadriennelakate) and Noelle Singleton (@afroswimmwers), Creator of Afro Swimmers, Aquatic Director, Water Safety Instructor, and Coach to speak and attend the 2019 Diversity In Aquatics (DIA) Convention. I believe that it was a great opportunity to increase our efforts in exposing people to the benefits of safe participation and engagement in aquatic activities. After the convention, we continued the conversation of the importance of learning water safety skills, especially among African Americans. We thought that it would be a great idea to attend the 17th National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet (NBHCSM) in Cary, NC. We were all excited to attend for the first time and to meet more swimmers and aquatic professional who looked like us! Because in real life.... the "Black Swim World" is small, so whenever I have the chance to meet more black swimmers, I am there! The NBHCSM was such a great experience, with over 1100 swimmers from 19 states, it was the largest swim meet in its history!
The NC Aquablazers were the host of the NBHCSM and were so open and hospitable! We were told about the rich history of the meet, introduced to so many people, and made connection that have the potential to grow and grow! There was good competition, good food (that fish fry though!!) , and good music (the DJ played Nipsey Hussle ya'll!!). This swim meet felt like a Homecoming! We also had the opportunity to meet Ms. Jazmin-Rose (@thejazminrose) and her family at the meet and present her with her #IAmWaterSafety Swag Bag!! She even received some tips on how to dive from Coach Adrienne!
This was also a great opportunity for all of us (especially the young swimmers) to meet many former college swimmers and coaches. 3-time Bahamian Olympian, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was also in attendance at the meet is such a great experience meeting her! There were many black-owned companies, such as Black Kids Swim and CulturedGEAR that specialize in products that swimmers can benefit from!
Overall, attending this swim meet was an amazing experience and plan to attend next year!! Seeing all those young black swimmers was priceless and beyond inspirational. I look forward to more positive connections in the future!!
Remember to stay safe and aware in the water and most of all... Have Fun!!!
Dr. Asherah Allen
At one point, swimming was something that I did everyday. Even if it was only for 5 minutes or a few laps, I would just feel better when I swam. But as I have become older, a wife, a mom, and a professional, there are more responsibilities and barriers that can possibly get in the way of our journey to becoming my best selves. When I think about the lessons I have learned and some of the challenges I've faced, being in and around water helps me do that. This is why I have chosen to challenge myself and you all!
I want to challenge myself on getting back to swimming consistently, becoming a more active, spiritual, and healthy as a woman! I want everyone to join me on December 12 - 23, 2018 in completing the 12 Days of Swimming Challenge! My goal is to swim laps for a minimum of 30 minutes each day with organized workouts for each day. I will share my journey with you all and want you all to join me in the #12daysofswimmingchallenge. Share your photos and videos from your swim each day with Black Girl Swim! Let's get it!
Dr. Asherah's 12 Days of Swimming Challenge
Today, we are facing a continuing problem of obesity and decrease participation in physical activities. It seems that we understand the basic premise behind the so many of us being overweight and obese and that the promotion of healthy diets and physical education would be at the forefront of this fight. However, many people tend to believe that the field of physical education is not a serious or integral part of their development. As a physical educator, I often find myself having to explain the benefits of physical education and why it is very necessary in our schools today. For example, I have many conversations about differences between physical education and athletics, informing people why physical education is a very necessary part of a person's education and life. Although there is a relationship between the two, I believe that all people should have an understanding and appreciation for the many benefits physical education.
I would like to highlight a few of the MANY benefits of physical education:
1. Development of the Fundamental Motor Skills
Taking High-Quality Physical Education classes in the early years of childhood allows for the development of the Fundamental Motor Skills, such as, running, hopping, skipping, galloping, sliding, and etc. Contrary to popular belief, these fundamental skill have to be taught to us inorder for us to develop the correct form and technique. Have you ever wondered why many people seem to be awkward when they run or done have coordination when they are jumping rope? Well, if you traced their experience in learning these fundamental skills, there many have been something missing in the process of learning.
As with any skill, the development of a STRONG foundation is a must! If we want to become great at a particular sport or physical activity, we first have to develop our fundamental motor skill, which is out string foundation!
2. Motivation to be physically active
When people have the opportunity to learn and master a skill they tend to be more confident and motivated to continue that activity. I believe that many people are not motivated to be physically active because they are not confident in their abilities to perform that task efficiently. High-Quality Physical Education is essential to learning skills needed to be proficient in activities like basketball, running, swimming, football and etc. For example, in basketball and football there are many drills that players do in order to become better in the game. If those players did not learn how to slide, leap, or hop, their performance will likely suffer.
We are more likely to participate in activities that we believe we will be good at. If more children and adults had High-Quality Physical Education their motivation to be physically active in their everyday life would increase.
3. Contribute to a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle
Becoming fit and healthy is a challenging task for many of us. It takes discipline and consistency to reach optimal health and fitness. Physical Education promotes the appropriate motor development, aerobic activity, cooperative skills, self-efficacy, self-confidence, and so much more. High-Quality Physical Education in k-12 and higher education can potentially reverse the rising trend of obesity and declining health of so many people in our society.
4. Enhanced Learning and Educational Experience
There has been a trend of removing physical education from school curriculums in an attempt to improve student academic performance. The focus on testing has caused classes like physical education, art and music to be pushed to perceived as insignificant. However, many studies have shown that physical activity contributes to increased academic performance. Students concentration in their core classes improves and they tend to have improved behavior in their classes. I believe that when students spend almost 8 hours of the day sitting in classrooms without an opportunity to exert their energy in physical education and recess, it can cause a number of distractions while trying to learn.
High-Quality Physical education is a must within our school systems and higher education. The advantages of restoring physical education into school curriculums definitely outweighs the disadvantages. High-Quality Physical Education and have tremendous impact on our society as a whole, including improved physical fitness, reduced stress, improved judgement, improves social skills, self-discipline, motivation, and self-esteem.
References: Benefits of Physical Education
Hills, A. P., Dengal, D. R., & Luban D. R. (2015). Supporting public health priorities: Recommendations for physical education and physical activity promotion in schools. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 57 (4).
Keslo, C. (2015).The importance of physical education://www.veanea.org/home/1000.htm
Ntoumanis, N. (2001). Self-determination approach to the understanding of motivation in physical education. British Journal of Educational Psychology 71, (2).