Military Man Determined to Get More Black Kids to Swim

17 Jun


Jeff Brown, a US Army Lieutenant and founder of Wolf Pack Leadership—a not for profit organization that facilitates mentoring, tutoring, and sports learning programs for children in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area—is out to prove that Black people do swim.

On July 20, 2013, Brown plans to complete an eight mile swim of the Potomac River in what he has titled the Jeff Brown 8 Mile Potomac River Swim Challenge.  The swim, scheduled to launch from the Georgetown Waterfront and extend towards the National Harbor in Fort Washington, MD, is the kick off for a three year campaign designed to raise awareness about the importance of swim literacy and water safety in Black and Latino communities as well as obesity, and raise funds to support Wolf Pack Leadership programming for youths in the Washington, DC area.

The statistics are very disheartening; a recent study by the USA Swimming Foundation found that 70% of African-American children and 58% of Hispanic children have little or no swimming ability.  One major factor in a child’s inability to swim is their parents.  Studies show that in a family in which neither parent swim 91% of African-American children and 70% of Latino children will never learn to swim.


A swimmer since the age of six and a lifelong athlete, Lt. Brown credits swimming with changing the trajectory of his life.  Growing up in one of DC’s most dangerous neighborhoods, he found a safe place at the pool and an outlet in swimming. The sport taught him self-discipline, focus and self-reliance. It also helped him stay in shape, encouraged him to take pride in himself and his body, and built up his self-esteem.

Lt. Brown believes “that all great leaders in history did something big, something powerful that helped them overcome a challenge or lead others to fight a cause.”  Long frustrated by the myth that Black people can’t, don’t, or shouldn’t swim, it is his hope that by challenging himself and completing this swim, he will be able to put this falsehood to rest and inspire more African-Americans and Latinos to get in a pool, get moving, and give swimming a try.

Click here for more information about Jeff Brown, the swim, and his mission.


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