Blog Archives

Why Can’t Black People Swim?


Okay if you want to hear really stupid things google them. I looked out of curiosity and because we had a very unsuccessful swim event for kids last evening. Now without debating a myriad of silly issues about swimming I am going to say that the sports that get the least attention in some communities have the fewest participants. Who knows how to swim and how do they learn?

I grew up in Manhattan, the only child of a father who was afraid of the water and a mother who knew how to swim. I did not have a local Y to go to or any indoor pool that I can remember. Occasionally we went to public pools but not often. Yet I have been in the water my whole life. Probably because my mother loved the water and she passed that information on to me.

So dispensing with a lot of other theories, I think that you only know about swimming what you are exposed to.

Currently I am enjoying a Facebook page dedicated to Black Triathletes. Before you say why is that page necessary, it’s to offer support and spread the word about a sport that may still be unknown to many minority people with athletic aspirations. Swimming is often the topic of conversation because many people haven’t learned how to swim.

So much work to do. Pass the word, swimming is fun and may save your life one day. If you live in New Jersey and can come to Newark, let me know we have a beautiful pool, a Master swim team and would love to have you learn to swim!

JFK Pool Newark, NJ

Lost in Fall. What Now?

I am lost. I have nothing to train for. My season is over. I can’t run, don’t enjoy riding really  so swimming is my main winter activity and my pool is shut down for draining and cleaning. I have to get the motivation back because I need to be active all year-long. I am fighting the couch potato lure.

What now?

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Tri, Tri, Again

Haven’t written in a while but I am still here. My very first  Sprint Triathlon is scheduled for August 3, 2014 and I am getting ready in my head. Now you know that I have talked about this for a long time. First steps were hard. I spent the winter having an on again off again swim season. Our pool was down for some time and I was lazy when it was up. I found out that stamina leaves in a short amount of time. It’s May and I’m really not ready to do the 300 yds yet. On top of that I bought a bike two weeks ago and had to deal with my serious fear of riding. I have been on the bike a few times but there is still a lot of work to do there. I had a needle in my knee yesterday and hope that after the three shot series I will have less pain in it which will make walking easier. I will be walking the 5K part of the Tri’s. Anyway I’m back and will be talking about my road to Triathlon in the upcoming days.

What are the best Goggles?

This blog has taken a turn and probably this year I will be spending a lot of time on my athletic activities. Hope I don’t lose some of you. Anyway who knew that there were different types of goggles for different types of swims. Okay so some people knew but not me. In my new Swimmer magazine there is a goggle review article. Apparently some come off when you dive or do a fast flip turn (not issues for me) or when you’re swimming a fast race. Good grief. My goal is to get goggles that don’t fill with water or sit too close to my large eyeballs. You don’t want to think about them once you start to swim. The beauties listed below Speedo F3 Elite lists for $75.00! Everything has its price.

Fastskin3 Elite Mirrored Goggle - SPEEDO  - Speedo USA Swimwear



Can a Swimmer get a Break?

JFK with roof rolled back

JFK with roof rolled back

This is what I should have seen this morning. Today was the day that the roof was rolled back for the summer. Instead it has rained most of the day and the forecast calls for more of the same for the rest of the week.

Can a swimmer get a break?

I Go To Sleep Thinking About My Freestyle Stroke

I actually go to sleep thinking about my freestyle stroke. I still don’t have the best stroke but I have visions of a much faster and certainly better stroke. I am going to my first swim clinic with Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen next Saturday and I couldn’t be more excited. My coach is great and has taught me a lot and I figure that anything I learn from the clinic will enhance what he has taught me. Execution and thought are not always in sync and there is so much to remember. Well anyway when I think about swimming, I’m not thinking about anything else.  My journey continues.

Swimming Alone is Fine

My team members have been MIA this week. I have been swimming alone. It’s okay because I have a goal and since no one can help me accomplish it, I don’t mind practicing alone. Not that my team is not important to me because they are. They are my biggest supporters and have become an extension of  my family. I just have to be careful not to use them as a crutch or an excuse. Every day I come to the pool with a plan and I have to follow that plan no matter what. I just sent an email to everyone asking that they just let me know that they are okay. They’ll be back. I’ll be waiting.

In Tough Times Stick With Familiar Activities

Since December several of my friends have dealt with parents with serious health issues. No matter what our ages, we don’t want to deal with our parents mortality. The likelihood is that we will out live them and we just don’t want to see that day come. My Dad died when I was in my mid-twenties and I of course miss him to this day. My Mom is still here at 96 and at least once a week she says “well how long do you think I’m going to be here?” I don’t know and today I don’t want to talk about it. So I can appreciate how they all feel. We can’t do much about these situations. We can be good supportive children and then the rest has to be left to prayer if you pray. I am here to tell you though that we need to do the things that will keep our sanity and give us bits of relief from our worries. For me and some of my friends that happens in the pool.

You all know that I am in the pool as often as I can be. Some days are better than others but all time in the pool is time I am not thinking about anything else. I sputter and choke a bit and still lack the stamina that I need but for sure I am not thinking about bills or ills when I am swimming. You may have something else that takes you away from it all and I encourage you to do that. Take the time for that familiar activity that makes you feel good. You won’t be sorry!

How Many Yards in a 1/2 Mile?

880 yards, rounding up 36 laps of my practice pool. This is important to me because I intend to do the Danskin triathlon in September. Thirty-six laps omg. Right now I am sputtering on two laps wearing my zoomers. Well I just have to keep trying. The last few days I have begun to count my strokes (thanks Yelena) and for the first time I am making a lap without freaking out and thinking that I’m out of air (cause I’m not) So I believe that I will be able to swim more than a half mile by September. We’ll talk about the open water freak out later.

Conquer the Pool — :38, :49, 1:02

Those are not Bible verses. They are my swim times this morning.  So this was the first time Coach Corey timed me. It was so sad. Anyway here is a beginning point. 38 seconds freestyle, 49 seconds back, 1:02 breast. I refuse to attempt the fly. Did I mention that these sad times were for 25 yds? Well now I know what I have to do and every day that I am in the pool I will do my best to improve these times. Maybe I won’t be competitive in the near future but I will get there. Swimming is in my blood now.

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