| Wednesday, February 4, 2015
USA Swimming and historical black sorority Sigma Gamma Rho announced a multi-year extension of their successful partnership to prevent drowning and increase swim participation, with the Swim 1922 program serving as an influential part of USA Swimming’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The two organizations will advance their efforts to increase awareness about water safety, the need for swim lessons and participation in swimming at a grassroots, community-based level. Members of Sigma Gamma Rho will continue to promote participation in communities across the country through in-water safety events, workshops and fitness swimming.
“Swimming has the ability to positively impact our communities on many levels - decreasing drowning rates, increasing health and wellness, and providing employment and scholarship opportunities,” said Bonita M. Herring, 23rd International President of Sigma Gamma Rho. “We are proud to continue our partnership with USA Swimming. Our members look forward to expanding the Swim 1922 campaign and sharing the benefits of water activities.”
In conjunction with USA Swimming’s AT&T Winter National Championships and Phillips 66 National Championships, the Swim 1922 program has provided the women of Sigma Gamma Rho opportunities to experience swimming at all levels, from learn to swim clinics to having behind the scenes special access at national championship meets.
“Sigma Gamma Rho has embraced the objectives to make this one of the most impactful partnerships we’ve done at USA Swimming,” said Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming. “Members have also spoken with actions by working tirelessly to introduce swimming, and its critical life-saving importance, into their communities.”
The combined efforts of the unique partnership have inspired the Sigma Gamma Rho sisterhood to share their enthusiasm for the sport and commit to opening more avenues to diversify the sport of swimming. Planned 2015 Swim 1922 activities to increase grassroots level involvement include:
• College and university campus water safety events surrounding spring break
• Sigma Gamma Rho regional conference workshops with local elementary and middle school assembly visits on water safety and learn to swim
• Summertime community water safety events in inner-city locations such as Detroit and Nashville
Sigma Gamma Rho currently boasts two Olympians in its sisterhood. Olympic silver medalist Maritza Correia, who in 2004 became the first black female swimmer to make the U.S. Olympic team and then went on to earn a silver meda, has been a sorority member since 2012 and is the current Swim 1922 ambassador. Joining Sigma Gamma Rho in 2014, Jamaican Olympian and world record-holder Alia Atkinson became the first black woman to earn a world swimming title, with her 100-meter breaststroke title at the 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“We’ve made a lot of positive impact within the sorority over the past two years of Swim 1922 and the momentum for the movement has grown among members,” said Correia. “I’m happy that USA Swimming has extended the partnership, which shows how much they see value in this for the growth of swimming.”
For more information about the Swim 1922 partnership, visit: www.usaswimming.org/swim1922.
For more information about Sigma Gamma Rho, visit: www.sgrho1922.org