Free Swim Documentary on Coastal Blacks Not Knowing How to Swim

The age old myth of black people not knowing how to swim is nothing new but in this film documentarian Jennifer Galvin goes in depth to show how blacks living around the coast deal with the reality of not knowing how to swim.

Free Swim is an award winning documentary that follows a group of kids on the island Eleuthera in the Bahamas. After revisiting the memory of losing a friend that drowned the kids face their fears and learn how to swim in open waters.

For these kids it is not just about learning how to swim but becoming comfortable and reconnecting with their environment, learning the skills that could save their lives in the future. Along the journey, the film reveals the problems the island faces like drowning, tourism, and education using swimming to weave together the storyline.

The director Jennifer Galvin shares her reasoning for wanting to make the documentary below:

Free Swim grew out of personal adventures and public health work with coastal people around the world.  I became aware of a paradox:  many people, young and old, who live surrounded by water, do not know how to swim.  Having grown up in the U.S. on Long Island, N.Y., I was aware of the questions about minorities and the swimming gap and had wondered why some kids in my neighborhood didn’t know how to swim. Digging through the public health literature it was astonishing to learn that drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children globally.  Looking closer, in the U.S. about 60% of ethnically diverse children are unable to swim and African-American children drown at three times the rate of Caucasian children.  As a doctor with a degree in public health and environmental science, specializing in water and health, the more I learned about the struggling efforts to break this cycle, the more I wanted to give this topic a voice, especially regarding islanders who rely on the ocean directly, every day.”

To finish reading about the movie head to Free Swim’s site! And don’t forget to watch the award winning documentary above!

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