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Friday, July 12, 2024

Drowning Disparities: Indy Water Safety Festival aims to address issue

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The rate of Black and Native American drowning deaths is nearly twice that of white Americans, a number that has increased nearly 28% in just three years. Diversity in Aquatics is hoping to change that.

Ahead of the Olympic swim trials at Lucas Oil from June 15-23, Diversity in Aquatics and Sea Scope Inc. will host a Water Safety Festival at Frederick Douglass Park Pool June 15-16. The event is designed to ensure that Hoosiers are less likely to be a part of the increasing drowning statistics of minorities.

The event will feature in- and out-of-water lessons and encourage inclusivity in aquatics. Additionally, participants will see water safety demonstrations, CPR training and activities like scuba and water polo.

“This water safety festival celebrates the transformative power of community involvement and support,” Miriam Lynch, executive director of diversity in aquatics, said in a press release. “Like ripples caused by a single drop of water, each contribution to our cause can create a ripple effect, spreading positive change far and wide.”

Diversity in Aquatics’ mission is to educate the public through programming and collaboration with underrepresented communities. This event, in collaboration with Sea Scope Inc., is one of several events they will host this year.

Water equity and access has been at the forefront of discussions since the announcement of the swim trials. Companies such as Indy Sports Corp. have hosted discussions pertaining to water equity, and Indy Parks and the YMCA opened the pools for a free swim day to encourage new learners to dive in. Several partners of these events will be present at the Water Safety Festival.

“We are excited to host this important event at the historic Frederick Douglass Pool and have our organization, which focuses on Scuba, engage with the community by teaching youth and their families to learn to swim,” Allyson Brown, who runs Sea Scope Inc., said in a press release.

The Red Cross of Indiana will also be present to inform the public on the official water safety tips and guidelines.

“The American Red Cross encourages families to be “water smart” — safer in, on and around water and knowing what to do in a water emergency,” Connie Harvey, director of Aquatics Centennial and Survival Programs for the Red Cross, said in a press release. “Our goals include helping remove barriers to learning to swim and reducing the number of drownings.”

The event is open to swimmers of any skill level. Children ages 5 and up can participate.

For more information, visit diversityinaquatics.org.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317-762-7854 or follow her on Instagram at @hanna.rauworth.

A flyer for a Water Safety Festival in Indianapolis.
(Photo/Diversity in Aquatics and Seas Scope Inc.)
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