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Equal Access to Pools, Schools, Parks, and Beaches JUMMP SwimLA


The Miguel Contreras High School Pool, Los Angeles, CA

The struggle continues for equal access to pools, schools, and pools:

79 percent of children whose families make less than $50,000 a year cannot swim. The 2017 study by the U.S.A. Swimming Foundation also found that nearly 64 percent of black children, 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of white children nationally have little to no swimming ability.

Those numbers are similar here in Los Angeles itself, according to the city.

There are some stellar new options for those who can’t afford pricey private lessons. SwimLA, a citywide initiative tied to the 2024 Olympics, subsidizes the cost of classes for those who can demonstrate financial need. The program is seeking to double the number of young people who get swim lessons at public pools; 36,000 Angelenos have taken lessons through the program since it began in June. (Click here for class listings.)

“Kids of color are less likely to have a friend with a swimming pool or the money to be able to afford classes,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, a champion of the program.

From the New York Times Article,“‘I Flail. I Gasp. I Use a Snorkel’: A Reporter Learns to Swim in Los Angeles’ “

Visit these links to learn more information:

Joint/Shared Use Moving People to Play, bringing together leaders for shared and safe spaces for health

Mapping unfair disparities in access to parks, schools, and pools by City Council District in Los Angeles

First Black Woman Swimmer Wins Olympic Gold Overcoming History of Discrimination against People of Color in Pools

Dick Cavett on pools: “I felt I’d had a good course in America. All its traits, fine and lamentable are found here — the most vivid being, alas, our stinking racism.” Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, New York Times Book Review

The Struggle for equal access to pools, schools, and parks and the Miguel Contreras Pool