This is a continuation of my celebration of people and organizations who have influenced and helped to change the narrative of what it means to be a black person participating in aquatics! Read about these amazing people and organizations below!
The Swim1922 program is a partnership and initiative between Sigma Gamma Rho, Sorority, Inc. and USA Swimming that is dedicated to diversity and inclusion in swimming and water safety. It is their goal to increase swim participation and decrease drowning rates in the community. The host Swim1922 Clinics all over the country, teaching swimming skills and encouraging safe in and around the water. As one of the nine black greek-lettered organizations, they are making history everyday!
Brannon Johnson is the Owner and Head Coach of BLJ Community Rowing. BLJ Communiry Rowing is one of the most diverse community rowing programs in Philadelphia, PA. At 15 years old she learned to row at Fairmount Park Community Rowing Program and trained at Boston University's elite summer program for two consecutive years. and as she became an accomplishes rower received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, where she rowed at the Division I varsity level all four years. She began teaching rowing in 2003 and in 2013 founded BLJ Rowing Community, affectionately called "A boathouse without walls." She has taught and coached over 150 classes and over 1,000 Philadelphia area residents. She is making history everyday with the growing membership of the most diverse rowing program that has access to Philadelphia's Schuylkill River and as a a member of USRowning's Diversity Initiative.
Dr. Shaun Andersonis the co-founder, former Executive Director of Diversity In Aquatics and current Chairman of the Board for Diversity In Aquatics and International Water Safety Foundation. During his undergraduate studies at Penn State University, Anderson was a four-year member of the swim team and three-year member of the track team. He was also a member of Penn State's first Swimming & Diving Big Ten Championship Team. After attaining his B.S. in Kinesiology from Penn State University, Anderson continued his education at California State University, Long Beach where he received his MBA in finance, and completed a Doctorate in Education Policy and Leadership. His work as the co-founder of Diversity In Aquatics, Inc. has influenced many and shed light on the need to increase diversity within every aspect of aquatics.
Coach Adrienne Wesley is a Water Safety Instructor, Swim Coach, and the Creator of Swim Life Fitness, LLC. Swim Life Fitness is dedicated to exposing the benefits of aquatic fitness through education, skill, and recreation. Swim Life Fitness’s mission and methodology is supported by scientific evidence that promotes that swimming is a life skill essential for not only survival, but also an enriched skill for overall wellness. Coach Wesley develops quality aquatic programs and services, which include Water Safety Education, Parent/Child Adaptive Aquatic, Stroke Development, and much more. aquatic instructional services, which include, and outreach focusing on persons with disabilities and underrepresented communities. Coach Wesley has developed partnerships with Autism Speaks Georgia, Dekalb Aquatics (USA Swim Club), Atlanta Parks & Recreation, and Make a Splash- USA Swim Foundation. Coach Wesley is an advocate for water safety education and aquatic education, continuing her work teaching and influencing people in the world of swimming and aquatics. She is making an positive impact in our community and definitely making history!
Diversity In Aquatics, Inc. is an organization made up of aquatic educators, athletes, coaches, researchers, and enthusiast who committed to increasing the knowledge and awareness of water safety and drowning prevention, providing educational programming and collaborative relationships, and increasing sustainability in water safety and drowning prevention efforts. Diversity In Aquatics believes that there is so much history,,empowerment, and excellence in the community that needs to be shared and grown. They have partnerships with many organizations such as the American Red Cross and the Association of Aquatic Professionals. Diversity In Aquatics, Inc. and its members make history everyday!
Anise Foreman is the Head Coach and Owner of the Elite Rays Swim Club. Anise began her swim career at the age of 5, swimming on the Prince Mont Swim League and Northern Virginia Swim League during her childhood. During high school, she became swim team captain performing exceptionally well at events such as 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, and 100 backstroke. She attended Bowling Green State University where she continued to swim, teach, and coach. She continues to pour into the lives of her athletes, encouraging each athlete to exhibit strong moral character and athletic drive. She is making history everyday!
Happy Black History Month!! Let's continue to keep pushing forward and celebrating ourselves everyday!!
Dr. Asherah Allen
Owner of My Swim Village, LLC, Creator of Black Girl Swim Blog, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Water Safety and Aquatic Educator, Mother, Wife, and Creative