Simone Manuel showed us that Black people, and Black women in particular, can swim and swim damn well.
The 2x Olympian shinned in the pool in the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games, winning two golds, two silvers and one bronze medal. She’s also a World Champion, winning 11 golds, three silvers and two bronze medals in individual and team events.
Now Manuel wants to make sure that everyone can swim, especially people of color, and she’s taking action to do just that.
On Thursday, Manuel announced the launch of the Simone Manual Foundation to aid in that effort.
Today is the official launch of the #SimoneManuelFoundation! The goal of this organization is to provide education and resources for BIPOC youth to create positive swim readiness experiences and increase water safety awareness in communities of color. pic.twitter.com/cc9mArgOcG— Simone Manuel (@swimone) September 14, 2023
“The goal of this organization is to provide education and resources for BIPOC youth to create positive swim readiness experiences and increase water safety awareness in communities of color,” wrote Manuel in her post.
While the Olympic pool is seeing more Black swimmers compete on a world level, swimming still remains an issue for the Black community. It’s an issue swimmers like Cullen Jones, Alice Dearing and Manuel have all expressed concern about.
The issue appears to be generational according to Dearing.
“You get to the situation where the grandparents weren’t involved in swimming, they never learned to swim, they never took their children to swim and their children never took their children to swim,” said Alice Dearing to the Guardian.
But thanks to Jones and some aquatic Black Girl Magic, swimming will be more welcoming to those who normally shy away from it.
Manuel’s foundation emphasizes three ways of addressing this issue.
Through education, it will help parents and children involved in swimming navigate the obstacles they will face in a white-dominated activity and sport.
Next the foundation will partner with organizations, schools and families to spread the word about events, clinics and other resources to get them involved.
And lastly, lead by example by getting directly involved and becoming an advocate for water safety.
Manuel’s foundation will help raise awareness about activities in the water and also address the notion of Liquified Racism, which has deterred Black people from entering the water and competitive swimming.
You go Simone!
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