‘Black People Will Swim’: Paulana Lamonier’s Program Makes Waves in Addressing Racial Disparities in Aquatic Education

by Gee NY

In a bid to tackle racial disparities in swimming education, Paulana Lamonier took the plunge five years ago by founding Black People Will Swim in New York City.

The program, aimed at making swimming accessible and affordable for Black children and adults, has since seen remarkable growth, now boasting a roster of 300 participants every six weeks.

Lamonier’s vision, supported by an all-Black staff, goes beyond merely teaching swimming skills. It’s about creating spaces where Black individuals can learn, thrive, and feel empowered in the aquatic realm.

“We see the importance of having Black hair salons. We see the importance of having Black clothing lines, right?” she noted. “It is vital for us to have our own swim school, where people can come get affordable swim lessons for people who look like them and, most importantly, create that pipeline for aquatic professionals.”

The program’s success highlights the urgent need for more inclusive and representative approaches to swimming education.

By prioritizing affordability, accessibility, and cultural relevance, Black People Will Swim is not only breaking down barriers to entry but also paving the way for a more diverse and equitable aquatic community.

Looking ahead, Lamonier envisions establishing a dedicated swim school and expanding into other multicultural programs.

Through these initiatives, she hopes to foster a new generation of aquatic professionals while amplifying the importance of representation and inclusivity in all aspects of swimming education.

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