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International Sorority Honors USA Swimming For Partnership To Promote Swimming Among African Americans


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, ten people drown
on average each day, in swimming pools and African-American youths, ages 15 to 19,
make up a disproportionate share of those deaths.  It is for this reason Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. partnered with USA Swimming to promote swimming lessons and safety in the African-American community. The partnership is called “Swim 1922.”

And on September 22 during a reception at the Renaissance Downtown
Hotel in DC, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority awarded its Community Service Partnership Award to USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in the United States, for its partnership with the sorority to drive down drowning deaths among African Americans.

USA Swimming’s partnership with Sigma Gamma Rho is a historic initiative that seeks
to strengthen former organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, increase
swim participation and decrease drowning rates in the community. Sigma Gamm Rho’s
five-year-old partnership with USA Swimming, “Swim 1922” is named for the year the
sorority was founded and includes swim clinics and water safety training led by U.S.
Olympian Maritza McClendon, a Sigma Gamma Rho member and the first African
American to break a U.S. swimming record. U.S. Olympic Swim team member and gold
and silver medalist Cullen Jones partners with McClendon in the effort.

Last year they crisscrossed the country to host 100 swimming events, nearly one every other day, and
gave 2,500 swimming lessons to children and adults.

Tim Hinchey, president & CEO of USA Swimming, accepted the award on behalf of the
organization, and McClendon and Jones delivered remarks during the awards event. The event
also honored U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL), presenting her with a service
award. Notable figures in attendance included U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA)
and Soror Actress writer and producer Victoria Rowell.

Nearly 20,000 sorority members and affiliates participated in scores of swim clinics at
colleges, universities and community pools throughout the country. Black and Hispanic
youngsters learned a range of skills, from the fundamentals of swimming to rescue

About the Author

Ann is a freelance writer who started her professional career at the NY Trend more than two decades ago. Ann has since gone on to write for a number of major outlets including: Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire, Pathfinders, Frequent Flier, Playboy, The Source, Girl, Upscale, For Harriet, The Network Journal, AFKInsider, Africa Strictly Business, AFKTravel, among others.

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