We founded Swim Up in 2019 to provide free swim and water safety instruction to children from underrepresented communities in Washington DC. Minority and low-income communities are at a significantly higher risk of childhood drownings than white and affluent communities. Swim Up strives to break down existing barriers that keep many children from learning to swim by providing this service in DC schools.
Swim Up partnered with Bishop Walker School for Boys, a tuition-free independent school, to implement a weekly swim class as a part of the third, fourth, and fifth grade curricula, providing each grade with approximately 6-8 weeks of swim class, culminating in a water safety test. Swim Up provides the students with bathing suits, goggles, caps, and towels. Our instructors include DC Wave swim coaches and additional coaches from Potomac Valley Swimming. This past year, we operated at Barry Farm Pool and developed a great relationship with the Barry Farm staff, even coordinating a meeting with the 7th District Police Captain and the Ward 8 laisons with the DC Executive Office of the Mayor to increase safety measures for the recreation center and students following a break-in at the facility.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swim Up has been out of the water since March 12, 2020. However, we continue to operate in a virtual setting, providing students with online dry-land workouts, online water-safety instruction, and spotlight guest speakers such as 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Jeremy Linn. We continue to plan for an online course through January, to keep our students safe amid the ongoing pandemic. We have speakers lined up such as Team USA member Andrew Wilson, as well as the No. 1 ranked US Men's paralympic swimmer Jamal Hill. We are also participating in conversations with the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education to strategize and plan for expansion for the future.
Funded by Washington, DC (August 2020)